“land art”

David Nash, time and nature

Wood, erosion and seasons… David Nash’s art is rooted in our planet Earth. We met him in his home in Wales, where he’s hidden himself away in a former chapel. This is where he sculpts his life-size works with the help of a chainsaw and welding torch, watched by an audience of trees. “They look at me…” David Nash was born in 1945 in Surrey, England. Today acknowledged as one of the most illustrious British exponents of Land Art, he works relentlessly with his material of choice, wood, to create installations or sculptures. While his creations are exhibited in museums all over the world, his largest formats have been created for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield, or his own home, in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. Here, Nash resides in a former chapel, impressive in its dimensions and brightness. It houses some of his oldest pieces, which Nash is fond of reworking, attesting to a cyclical approach to time. This summer, David Nash’s work is being shown at the Fondation Fernet-Branca near Basel, while another exhibition has recently wrapped up at the Museum Lothar Fisher in Neumarkt, Germany. The Galerie Lelong which represents him in Paris is also unveiling his new works on paper until 13 July.   After you finished your studies, you decided to settle here, in this former church in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Why? I bought it in 1968 for 200 pounds and as I didn’t have to work to earn money, I was able to devote myself to my art. But I taught in different schools from 1970 onwards, working with students experimenting with all types of mediums. For me, creativity is one and the same whatever the medium, and what I’d teach them in particular was to develop confidence in themselves, whether in painting, sculpture or...

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Giant Sculpture erected in the Nevada Desert

American artist Michael Heizer has implemented his new monument in Garden Valley, within the Basin and Range, in the desert of Nevada, in the United States. A campaign is currently underway in Nevada, United States, in favor of an enlargement of the Basin and Range space, considered a National Monument. 240 km North of Las Vegas, Basin and Range contains important archeological sites, with buildings that date back to the 19th century, as well as traces of Amerindian artifacts. Within the borders of this large pool, surrounded by a mountain range, is the largest Land Contemporary Art sculpture in the world, City. Michael Heizer created this monument. He began the production of City in 1972, wishing to create an abstract sculpture that would not deteriorate the landscape, but would shape it differently, acting directly on the soil surface. But the completion of this project has been repeatedly delayed, raising numerous concerns from a financial and political standpoint, notably due to threats linked to diverse searches for petroleum, which they were faced with. Michael Heizer produced, in 1970, within the same region, the work Double Negative, which consists of two deep holes dug into the slopes of the Nevada plateau. Born in California in 1944, Michael Heizer is a contemporary artist specialising in large-scale sculptures, and one of the pioneers of Land Art. After the start of his career in New York, he returned to Hiko, Nevada at the end of the 1960s, where he lives and works...

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The outsider status of Land Art

“Work is not installed in a place, it is the place itself”, said American artist Dennis Oppenheim, speaking in reference to Land Art. In the 1960s, artists started to create installations in the deserts of Western America: coined Earthworks, these monumental forms marked the first examples, and the conception, of Land Art. The principle of this artistic genre is not simply to represent nature, but to actively form and manipulate it, employing nature itself as the dominant medium. Additionally, in contrast to other contemporary genres — Minimalism, Pop-Art, Massurealism, to name but three — Land Art is a discipline created with the aim of escaping the confines of museum walls, their imposed visiting hours and long queues. Land Art artists did not simply invent a new form of art, they created an entirely new genre of exhibition: open air and on constant view to the public. The questions of lighting, direction and curatorship are taken out of human control, depending solely on the natural environment. Likewise, the works — which can be of immense scale — are liberated from the space constraints commonly imposed by galleries. To give an idea of the magnitude reached by some examples of Land Art: the famous Spiral Jetty (1970) by Robert Smithson is a pier measuring five metres in width and 457 metres in length; likewise Double Negative (1969) by Michael Heizer, demanded no less than 240,000 tonnes of rocks for its construction in the Nevada desert. Ephemeral Art At the end of the 1960s, one of the leading figures of Land Art, Robert Smithson (1938 – 1973), became interested in the locations in which art could be exhibited. He also established the difference between various sites and non-sites. According to Smithson, a “non-site” is defined as an indoor work; a piece destined for a gallery, made from natural materials...

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Oscar Tuazon’s “Alone in an empty room”

Cologne, 12 February 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). From 15 February to 13 July 2014, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne is to present the exhibition “Alone in an empty room”. The exhibition is to feature a unique installation by Oscar Tuazon, to take shape in various rooms throughout the museum. The artist creates structures which reveal the exhibition space and resist the constricting spatial logic imposed by buildings, in order to create spaces which appear to have been reconfigured. The exhibition is also to explore Oscar Tuazon’s manipulation of the divide between public and private spaces. Oscar Tuazon’s creative process is based on the abstraction of space. Preserving the language of Land Art and Minimalism, he creates installations in situ inspired by the places where he lives. He also works in partnership with builders and architects. His thinking draws heavily on the history of art, and is inspired by the works of Carl Andre and Richard Serra. Tuazon’s works are included in permanent collections in the Pompidou Centre, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the...

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Nancy Holt, Land Art pioneer, dies at the age of 75

New York, 12 February 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). Nancy Holt, a pioneer of the Land Art movement, died on 8 February in New York, at the age of 75. Nancy Holt had gained significant international recognition in the last few years. In October 2013, she received the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and her latest retrospective, “Nancy Holt: Sightlines”, travelled to the Santa Fe Arts Institute, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. The artist was born in 1938 in Worcester (Massachusetts) and married Robert Smithson, another member of the Land Art movement. She worked within film and photography and wrote artist’s books. She aimed to situate art within the world, within the landscape and not just in prescribed places like the studio, museum or urban space. Her œuvre explores the relationship between art and space. Her most famous work is Sun Tunnels, a monumental artwork in the Great Basin Desert in Utah, made up of large concrete tubes which react to the sun’s position in the...

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