Exhibition: Uncommon Ground, Flowers Gallery, London, until September 1 2012
© Scarlett Hooft Graafland, courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
Sometimes, the act of simply observing drastically altered landscapes can sow enough questions. Edward Burtynsky, the revered Canadian artist and large format pioneer, finds China’s controversial Three Gorges Dam while it was under construction on the Yangtze river here, and landscape interventions are rarely as colossal or impactful as that (when it was flooded, the Dam displaced more than a million people, causing a seismic tremor.)
Andrea Galvani, who recently described himself to The New Yorker as “more like a hunter” while waiting and deciding when to take photos, documents the first phase of an experiment held off the coast of islands in the Arctic Circle, playing back the sound of an iceberg collapsing at a frequency capable of creating a new fissure.
In Higgs Ocean #12, Galvani records, amplifies and projects the sound of shifting ice, reproducing “violent actions in the landscape” to perpetuate the power of a natural phenomenon through looping effects.
Jason Larkin follows the trail of an early 19th century plan by British marines to increase rainfall by planting botanical scrap on the highest peak of a mountain on a remote South Atlantic Ocean, leaving a large-scale “planned forest” to this day, while Peter Ainsworth turns his eyes to the slightly smaller scale process of wrapping plants in a suburban garden in frost-protective material, introduced by his father in a ploy which controls aspects of the environment and creates forms with sculptural qualities.
Chris Engman and David Spero’s works are less grounded: Engman uses the movements of the sun to make surrealist structures on undeveloped land, above oceans and in deserts, using basic materials and earth. Spero turns coloured balls into “constellations” inside domestic interiors and dance studios.
Andy Goldsworthy tests his understanding of nature amid the buzz of the city in New York Dirt Water Light, a series of time-based shots of debris, passing strollers and natural and artificial light. The quietude of them, it is suggested, contrasts urban noise and activity with silent simplicity.
Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road, London. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm. Admission free.
© Jason Larkin
© Chris Engman
© Andrea Galvani, courtesy the artist and Meulensteen Gallery, New York
© David Spero