The power of Landscape
Caribou Migration I,Brant and Snow Geese with Chicks, Caribou Tracks on Tundra, Caribou Tracks on Coal Seams II.
The power of landscape continues with the work of New York Based Indian Artist Subhankar Banerjee. The beauty of his large-scale, incredibly detailed still-photography – aerial views of pristine landscapes – is startling.
The combination of composition, colour, light and form grab you immediately, like the most exquisite paintings. But then slowly, as you move in to take a closer look at the incredible detail of the environments he captures, a different vision begins to appear. For these landscapes are alive with beings - caribou and snow geese in this case.
So while these worlds he presents to us may be pristine, they are not empty or untouched, and the view of these patterns of animal habitation become a sort of mapping of the ancient and continuous patterns of movement across the landscape.
In his photographic work Banerjee is attempting to map the eco-culturally significant places on the planet,( so far the Arctic and the Desert of New Mexico) places which he describes as the “Most connected land on earth .”
His work addresses resource wars, climate change and Indigenous human rights, and through this he is attempting to build a visual philosophy of eco-cultural rights.
With his childhood spent in rural Bengal, India he was imbued with a deep interest in the value of the land, not from a Western scientific perspective but from the point of view the landscape itself and the beings which inhabit it.
City of Ghost, 2012
Thai artist Nippan Oranniwesna, creates a very different kind of landscape in his huge site-specific piece which is laid out across the floor of the gallery. A sort of universal landscape, which at first it looks like a white river estuary, or salt plain – an aerial photograph made 3D. But his process is intriguing, for in the City of Ghosts, meticulously cut -out maps of more than 10 different cities (leaving only the roads and rivers intact) are layered and stenciled using baby powder as a medium to create a sprawling cityscape that is a combination of all those cities together.The resultant “map”, reflecting the interconnectedness of our society, is also an exploration of different ways of exploring the city – focused and meticulous cutting or walking its streets. The tracks are in places reminiscent of the caribou tracks in the previous work.
The powder which settles and is held together by humidity which helps to form and sustain the shapes. The whole piece is then unpredictable and changes over time, like the cities themselves.