Review – On Landscape

On Landscape #1

Minna Kantonen, Dafna Talmor and Emma Wieslander, with Minna Pöllänen creating a site-specific piece, have come together to create an exhibition that will challenge the traditional representation of landscape, called On Landscape #1. The show was exhibited from 7th-30th March 2014 at Guest Projects, Andrews Road, London.

Landscape is not a genre but a medium…[it is] a natural scene mediated by culture. It is both a represented and presented space, both a signifier and a signified, both a frame and what a frame contains…” – J.W.T. Mitchell, Landscape and Power. The artists have chosen to open their fundraising website (Crowdfunder) with a quote about what a landscape is, to entice the reader.


The exhibition was shown at Guest Projects, which was formulated by Shonibare Studio and gives artistic practitioners the chance to use the facility of a free project space for a month. The Arts Council funded this project and also received help from donators ‘pledging’ money.

The curators had the opportunity to do anything they wanted with this large empty white space. Tables and walls were built by themselves with help from local businesses and friends. They kept quite an industrial feel, which contrasted against the natural aura of the work.

An open call for self-published books (short run or hand-made), which related to the framework of the exhibition, formed a central aspect of the show. This provided “a platform for wider debates around landscape whilst presenting an opportunity for a range of practitioners to showcase their work.” Renowned names such as Miranda Gavin (editor of Hotshoe) and Bruno Cheschel were among several members of the selection panel.

Wish You Were Here by Emma Wieslander

Wish You Were Here by Emma Wieslander

Wish You Were Here by Emma Wieslander

Wish You Were Here by Emma Wieslander














Emma Wieslander’s “Wish You Were Here” presents images, which are so very deceiving at a first glance. Having been created upon the idea of illusion, they certainly live up to the concept. When looking in great deal, it becomes apparent that Wieslander has set up one light at different heights, and using just natural lighting has achieved the appearance of the glowing sun. These images are made enjoyable by the trickery within them; grabbing your attention and making you look in great detail.

Constructed Landscapes by Dafna Talmor

Constructed Landscapes by Dafna Talmor

Possibly the most creative section of the show is a range of old negatives, which have been sliced and diced, before being layered together to create a ‘Constructed Landscape’. This work is based around manipulation and photography’s relationship to reality. Although the images are all created from something real, they are imaginary because they have been created and do not actually exist. This work can be seen as a metaphor, representing how land and nature can be destructed.

In order to remove any evidence of location, elements, which are man-made, have been removed. The unwanted parts of the negative are removed using a scalpel; this created something, which was irreversible, compared to using digital manipulation where you could undo the action to get back to the original.

“It is this irreversibility and the slight idiosyncrasies caused whereby the two negatives meet and overlap that I am interested in; how the areas around the incisions flare up, leaking light and creating certain stains around the edges going beyond the frame.” says Dafna Talmor, who created this piece.

Urban Vistas by Minna Kantonen

Urban Vistas by Minna Kantonen

Minna Kantonen explores the connection between urban cities and how we design and bring nature to them; how do we compensate the balance of a city and landscape? She describes the trees which are often planted in these kinds of places as “lollipop” trees, because they are often just a stick trunk with a blob of leaves on top, which makes them look like a lollipop. Kantonen believes that cities are all beginning to look the same. Having shot in cities such as Paris, Berlin, Helsinki and London, she says that it is hard to distinguish which city you are in, as they look so similar. She has presented in an even grid form to represent how uniform this is becoming; trees being planted in the same way around these buildings.

Observatory in New York - Minna Pollanen

Observatory in New York – Minna Pollanen

Pöllänen is well known for creating site-specific pieces, particularly her observatories, in cities such as New York, Montreal and Helsinki. She is often asked to create them in collaboration with other artists and companies.

As well as creating the site-specific piece, Minna Pöllänen also included images from her series “Nature Trail”.

As well as to provide a platform for wider debates around landscape, the show also aims to present a space where thought-provoking discussions can happen. With so many open events for the public to attend, this idea works effectively as when looking at the exhibition and discussing, ideas will bounce from one person to another creating a discussion. The website also plays a key role in the exhibition, as it extends the audience beyond just the physical space of the show. This project has been called #1 as it was a ‘pilot’ for future projects.

With so many sections to one show and so many artists coming together to collaborate, it is hard to feel that each section works perfectly with another. They each have completely focused on different elements within the framework of Landscape, using unique methods to produce their work. By bringing in components such as a site-specific piece, the scope of the exhibition was widened beyond just photography. All being female could be a reason for them choosing to look at landscape and nature.

This is a very thought provoking exhibition and completes the aim which the artists were looking to fulfil.