Electronic artist

Landscapes and Beyond at Valletta Contemporary

Conservative CHRIS MEIGH ANDREWS speak with Lara Zamit about the collective art exhibition Meta-landscapes: representations and Perceptions and its underlying concepts.

LZ: Meta-landscapes: representations and perceptions is centered around the theme of landscape, featuring works by artists who pioneered the electronic moving image as an art form. How did these artists interact with the theme of landscape in their works? How does the theme figure into their art?

CMA: The 12 artists in the exhibition have approached the theme in a very diverse way, which is of course deliberately very broad and deliberately open to this kind of diversity.

The landscape genre has a very long tradition in Eastern and Western culture – a tradition that dates back at least 1000 years. Moving image artists explore this long history in new and challenging ways, and they open up the territory to new possibilities while simultaneously reconnecting with earlier traditions.

For some artists, landscape is synonymous with “nature” – with all that is somehow beyond, or separate and distinct from, the man-made world with which we are increasingly engaged and surrounded. The landscape can be a place of escape… a retreat and a refuge.

Installation view of ‘Data Sea’ (2021) by Yeoul Son, 2 min 20 sec video projection, COVID-19 data set.

For other artists, working with the theme of the landscape is a way of seeking a reconnection or even a rapprochement, seeking to reconcile us with the natural world. However the artists interact with the landscape, they bring it into the gallery to share and celebrate the interconnections and invite us to participate in their vision.

LZ: The exhibition aims to question what the experience of landscapes can suggest or reveal beyond their immediate appearance. This suggests that the works can also deepen the marks landscapes can leave on an individual, whether as a physical response or an internal state. What types of landscapes do the works confront? How do landscapes affect an individual?

CMA: The works in the exhibition draw on many aspects of the landscape for their visual and acoustic imagery, some of which have precedents in painting and the visual arts, and some of which add something new: the ocean (Attard et Fils) , the magical island of Gozo (Briffa and myself), forests and woods (Hill and Cahen), the New Mexico desert (Vasulka), mountain peaks and the ocean floor (Hooykaas) , the open countryside of Newfoundland (Snow), the beach of Lanzarote (Flaxton), the seaside (Campus), flowing rivers and streams (Korot).

The works invite the viewer to engage and interact with their own senses

All of these works feature images (and sounds) of nature as a way to create a sense of connection and engagement with other important themes as well – conflicting emotions, uncertainty, morality, creativity, serendipity, joy. All works are of course time-based – they unfold and flow through time and they represent spatial experience and perceptions.

They are not simply representations or descriptions of places or locations, but invite the viewer to engage and interact with their own senses with embodied memories of personal experiences in the landscape.

Installation view of 'Nothing Beside Remains' (2022) by Chris Meigh-Andrews, 16 min 4K 360 video, ed.  5 + 1AP.Installation view of ‘Nothing Beside Remains’ (2022) by Chris Meigh-Andrews, 16 min 4K 360 video, ed. 5 + 1AP.

LZ: How did you direct the flow of this exhibition in relation to your curatorial briefs to the artists and what did you take away from the artists’ interaction with the landscapes?

CMA: I did not lead, in itself. I actively selected the work, inviting artists I respect and admire to contribute to the exhibition by identifying theme and approach.

I am above all an artist dedicated to working with the moving electronic image and my approach as a writer and curator is linked to my commitment to the medium. I learned a lot about how artists working with the moving image, with its interrelated mix of sound, light, space and time, can evoke a sense of intellectual, spiritual place and engagement. and physical.

Meta-landscapes: representations and perceptions, curated by Chris Meigh-Andrews, includes works by Norbert Francis Attard (MT), Vince Briffa (MT), Robert Cahen (FR), Peter Campus (USA), Terry Flaxton (UK), Gary Hill (USA), Madelon Hooykaas (NL), Beryl Korot (USA), Chris Meigh-Andrews (UK), Michael Snow (CA), Yeoul Son (KR) and Steina Vasulka (IS/USA). The exhibition at Valletta Contemporary is open until June 25.

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