Project Landscape

Our notions of landscape are both cultural projections and reflections of our cultural history: dependent on the beholder, the archetypal landscape ranges from the unkempt fallow to the English landscaped garden to the collectively conceived park with self-subsistence provision. These landscapes, formed by human hand and influenced by the trends of their day, shape our idea of the landscape. And by retaining them in the form of drawings, paintings, photographs, films and sound – whether realistic, artistically interpreted or visionary projection – it is often artists that embed these images in the collective memory.

Project Landscape is the first exhibition at ZKR – Centre for Art and Public Space Schloss Biesdorf, and serves to define its direction as an institution. It features nine contemporary artists to be included in the International Garden Show 2017 alongside over 20 artists who addressed themes of landscape in the former DDR. As a result, the presented positions are as diverse as the fragmented landscapes under artistic consideration. Consequently, the juxtaposition of art from the DDR with contemporary positions introduces unexpected associations: on the one hand it demonstrates how socio-political parameters have an impact on artistic creation, while on the other it highlights the relevance of the continued existence of certain issues throughout the decades. The multilayered title of the exhibition, Project Landscape, alludes to the idea of the landscape as an undertaking or enterprise, with its associated assignments and responsibilities, but also hints at the divergent projected perceptions linked to the ideal landscape. As well as presenting the landscape as an artistic subject, the exhibition considers aspects of societal responsibility, environmental protection and social function present in landscape management. 
Occasionally poetic, sometimes humorous, but also with a political gravity, Project Landscape translates these associations into a spatial experience that invites visitors to reflect on the notion of landscape.

Project Landscape was curated by Katja Aßmann in collaboration with Angelika Weißbach and Jeannette Brabenetz and realized in cooperation with Kunstarchiv Beeskow.

Janet Laurence: „Waiting - A Medicinal Garden for Ailing Plants“ Installation view (Photo: Frank Sperling)
Janet Laurence: „Waiting - A Medicinal Garden for Ailing Plants“ Installation view
The archive cabinets present graphic portfolios from "Kunstarchiv Beeskow" (Photo: Frank Sperling)
The archive cabinets present graphic portfolios from "Kunstarchiv Beeskow"

Archived Landscape 

The archiving of the landscape is a major theme in many of the featured works. The collecting, presenting or altering of found objects pervades both Janet Laurence’s botanical Wunderkammer and Olag Wegewitz’s book archive. The graphic art portfolios from Beeskow form an archive of landscape portrayals, which are supplemented by Nuria Quevedo’s rainy landscapes. In the case of ZimmerFrei (Massimo Carozzi, Anna de Manincor and Anna Rispoli), it is an archive of sounds that evoke an acoustic remembrance of nature and landscape.

Jeanne van Heeswijk zusammen mit Brechtje Schoofs, Paul Sixta, Aram Voermans, Marten Winters und Marcel van der Meijs "Amnesia of a Landscape", Installation View
Jeanne van Heeswijk: Amnesia of a Landscape, Installation View
Erik Göngrich Super Studio meets Outside Development Zones (Photo: Frank Sperling)
Erik Göngrich: Super Studio meets Outside Development Zones


Transformed Landscape

The landscape is constantly changing: through seasonal variation, through planned intervention, but also through environmental pollution and urban expansion. Transformations like these are documented, discussed and even brought about by many of the artists in the exhibition. Jeanne van Heeswijk addresses the changing nature of an area of land in Holland by focusing on the perception of those affected, whereas atelier le balto masterfully uncover nature’s hidden beauty. Erik Göngrich portrays the transformation of landscape that has not yet happened, while Seraphina Lenz initiates changes that need to be complemented by local residents. Charlotte E. Pauly’s idealised images of the harmonious relationship between humans and nature are offset by the desolate, blighted landscapes of Manfred Butzmann. With their performances, Martin Kaltwasser and Folke Köbberling make reference to ways of reflecting on sustainability, thus sharing the same objective as Joseph W. Huber’s international mail art project decades earlier. Günther Brendel and Wolfgang Domröse, on the other hand, show the transformation of landscape using the example of Marzahn.

Michael Sailstorfer: Clouds 2016
Michael Sailstorfer: Clouds 2016
Kurt Buchwald: Burning a TV at Thüringer Wald
Kurt Buchwald: Burning a TV at Thüringer Wald


Perceived Landscape

The perception of landscape is formed by an interaction between sensory influences, acquired ideas and internalised images. The binding theme of the other featured works is the prompt to question these perceptions – by seeing them from new perspectives. With his mirror installations and a unique scent work, Jeppe Hein playfully and persuasively challenges the individual perception of landscape. Kurt Buchwald focuses on human vision and examines the process of mechanical image production, Michael Sailstorfer employs everyday objects and processes in unfamiliar ways, while the perceptual shifts in Ralf-Rainer Wasse’s photographs cause us to search for structures, patterns and systems.

Artistic Positions:

atelier le balto (DE/FR) | Kurt Buchwald (DE) | Günther Brendel (DE) | Manfred Butzmann (DE) Wolfgang Domröse (DE) | Erik Göngrich (DE) | Jeanne van Heeswijk (NL) | Jeppe Hein (DE/DK)
Joseph W. Huber (DE) |Köbberling/Kaltwasser (DE) | Janet Laurence (AU) | Seraphina Lenz (DE)
Charlotte E. Pauly (DE) | Nuria Quevedo (DE/ES) | Michael Sailstorfer (DE) |Ralf-Rainer Wasse (DE)
Olaf Wegewitz (DE) | ZimmerFrei (BE/IT)


Graphic Art Portfolios

„Kamern“, 1969/70
Presenting works by Sigrid Artes, Klaus Drechsler, Dietrich Fröhner, Willy Günther, Walter Lauche, Klaus Magnus, Gerhard Schwarz, Elfriede Seibt, Lothar Sell, Erika Stürmer-Alex, Aini Teufel, Christine Wahl, Matthias Wegehaupt

 „Landschaften – 8 Grafiken zu Gedichten von Johannes R. Becher“, 1981
Presenting works by Otto Möhwald, Uwe Pfeifer

„Natur und Umwelt“, 1982
Presenting works by Meinhard Bärmich, Rudolf Sittner

„Stadt Landschaft Berlin“, 1987
Presenting works by Joachim Bayer, Martin Colden, Olaf Nehmzow, Hanns Schimansky, Margot Sperling

All Photographs: Frank Sperling