We cordially invite you to The Mountainshow, a group exhibition with works by Marc De Blieck (BE), Jules Spinatsch (CH), Carleton Watkins (USA), Rossella Biscotti (IT) w/ Jacob Kirkegaard(DK), Matts Leiderstam (SE), and Aldwin van de Ven (NL). In The Mountain Show, six artists reflect on the visual, philosophical and symbolic representation of mountains in historical imagery from 1770 until the present day.
The opening will take place on Saturday 7 March from 5:00 pm till 7:00 pm.
The exhibition will run from March 7 until April 15.
For further information and visual resources, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org or +31 (0)10 4126459.
The present day concept of a mountain ‘retreat’ has its historical origins in the Grand Tour, which for 18th century European men of means meant time spent in the mountains. Writers passing through the Alps on their way to Italy would pen descriptive accounts of their experiences there and these writings along with various genres of landscape painting would stake the mountain as a symbol of the immensity of nature untamed, and the beauty and terror of the sublime.
The world would have its first encounter with mountain imagery through the mass circulation of 19th century photographs. Many of these early photographs were taken by entrepreneurs who set out across the vast landscapes and uncharted territories of the American west. Two such early American photographers were Carleton E. Watkins and Timothy O’Sullivan who photographed highly iconic images of mountains. A favorable public response to these widely-circulated, panoramic and stereoscopic views led to the expansion of 19th century tourism.
Eager to capitalize on ‘the mountain’ as an untapped resource, the travel and sporting industries would sell the idea of a trip to the mountains as an encounter with natural beauty. The advent of train travel, newly built roads and railway lines would open up vast landscapes and provide easy access to mountainous terrain and previously inaccessible locales. The mountain would become commodified as a spectacle, and gain associations with leisure, pleasure, adventure, sports, vacationing, and rest.
Mountaineering and winter sports have become extremely popular pastimes and many Hollanders today opt to spend time in the mountains, leaving behind one of the flattest countries in the world to experience the natural wonder and beauty of the hills.
Marc De Blieck’s works reflect on the ‘image’ of the mountain as a historical construction. His panoramas are layered images created from a montage of multiple photographs, which are made over a period of time. In some of the prints the top layer is made of gold or palladium leaf. De Blieck’s work is joined by Jules Spinatsch’s installation Scene SHAP (2007) and Inventory (2003-2008) a series of small photographs that depict the mountainscape as a theatre of spectacle. After repainting View of the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, an 18th century landscape painting by Pierre-Jacques-Antoine Volaire, Matts Leiderstam placed his version of the painting on Mount Vesuvius in direct relationship to the view of the mountain pictured in Volaire’s, which is now parallel to the path tourists take to see the same view on their way up the hill. On Site (2001) – a photograph showing Leiderstam’s copy in relation to volcano pictured in Volaire’s, captures the artist’s attempt at an artistic intervention. The artist Rossella Biscotti presents Dai Tempo al Tempo (2008) – a video that features images of mountains taken by the engineer Pietro Pensa in an effort to study landscape and its transformation. Jacob Kirkegaard recorded the sound of the mountain’s interior for Biscotti’s video. A small painting and a sculpture by Aldwin van de Ven depict the mountain in relation to an experience of abject disappointment and a seemingly lost relationship between mountains and the sublime. The exhibition also includes El Capitain (1865).an early vintage Mammoth plate print by Carleton E. Watkins.
Text: Esperanza Rosales / Wilfried Lentz