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.



London Trip 17.03.2014 – White Cube

Darren Almond created the work for the show “To Leave a Light Impression” at the White Cube, Bermondsey. Over 13 years, Almond has taken images across every continent, to create a series called ‘Fullmoon’. All images were taken on a long exposure and under the light of a full moon, so that details which are undetectable to the human eye can be revealed.


Image from White Cube Gallery Website

The image does not even to begin to give you an idea of how large these images are and how big the space is. The huge scale of the beautiful images are just breathtakingly mesmerizing. Because the space is so big and white, your attention is instantly drawn to the images as there is nothing to distract you from them.

“Darren Almond stands before nature, between man and nature, between man and space, between life and death, and looks at the sad beauty of everything that is reflected through the lens of his camera. Almond slowly finds his way into the core of the earth and into the total mountain to directly stare into all that has been of this world throughout millennia.” – Aesthetica Magazine.

f0401564a4f4be443bbcf2ce06c533a9_0There are six pairs of bronze sculptures in the centre of the exhibition, filled with lead. Each one represents an astronaut who walked on the moon and weighs the comparative weight of them and has the astronaut’s initials engraved on it to identify them.  These contrast with the images because they are so much smaller; these become ‘standing stones’ which show the sculptural connection between man and moon. This is a way of mapping both visible and invisible spaces.

I wish I could have spent longer gawping at these striking images, as there is so much detail t0 them, with the large scale they are printed at it is impossible to see it in a short time. I would have like to take my own images but unfortunately the gallery did not allow us to. I would thoroughly recommend this show if you are looking for something spectacular to look at with a good back story to it.


London Trip 17.03.2014 – On Landscape

Our trip to London consisted of visiting four galleries; Guest Projects, Roman Road, Laura Bartlett Gallery and White Cube. I had never previously visited any of these so was looking forward to exploring new locations.

Image by Pete Donnelly

Image by Peter Donnelly

I was really pleased and excited that we would have either the artist or curator talking to us about the work exhibited at each of the galleries because you do not get that opportunity on a normal outing to a gallery. They talk about the work in such detail with so much passion that you leave knowing everything and more about the show.


We began our trip by visiting the On Landscape Project at Guest Projects. This show was a collaboration between Minna Kantonen, Dafna Talmor and Emma Wieslander, with Minna Pöllänen brought in to create a site specific piece. All being female curators gives the exhibition a sense of fragility and femininity. The aim of the show was to challenge the traditional representation of landscape. Three of the four artists were there to talk to us about their work, how it was created and why. Each artists work had its own separate section. The fact that they were all in one room but separate shows how they can work on their own but together they are one and work together strongly.

A central element of the exhibition consists of an open call for self-published, handmade or short run books relating to the exhibition framework. The publications, on display throughout the exhibition, aim to provide a platform for wider debates around landscape whilst presenting an opportunity for a wide range of practitioners to showcase their work.” Work was chosen by Lucy Soutter with Martin Barnes, Miranda Gavin and Sue Steward.

Image by

Image by Dafna Talmor

I particularly enjoyed the images created by Dafna Talmor, as they were so innovative. They had been constructed by layering negatives and using a scalpel to remove areas of the image. This resulted in “photographs create a space that defies specificity, refers to the transient and metaphorically blurs place, memory and time.”


London Trip 10.02.2014

This week we visited the Jerwood Space and Purdy Hicks galleries in London. These two galleries were very different to each other. They had very different atmospheres and work collections.

We went to see the Open Forest exhibition at the Jerwood Space, with work created by Juan delGado, Adam James, Amanda Loomes, Semiconductor and Chris Watson & Iain Pate. They definitely made made it feel like the outside had been brought inside. It was naturally lit with one wall made of just glass panels and many sky lights around the ceiling. There was also a water feature outside which could be seen through the glass wall. We had a talk from Sarah Williams, Visual Arts Gallery Manager, who told us about the exhibition.

It is funded by the Jerwood Foundation, which was established in 1977 by Alan Grieve for John Jerwood, who passed away in 1991. Grieve has created the ethos of Jerwood which is to support excellence especially within the arts and education.

There were four sections to the exhibition. The first was in the centre of the main area. Televisions were placed on top of large wooden crates and videos were being shown with headphones for you to put on if you so wished to listen to the videos. The next section showed a collage of different sized images put together to create an uneven shape.

Image by Tegan Upton, Collage of Images

Image by Tegan Upton, Collage of Images

At the back there were two dark rooms, one of which was very cool and the other very warm. Whether this had been done intentionally to create atmosphere I am not sure. A large wooden structure was in the centre of the room, with two projectors inside (facing different walls). The projections were a circular shape which flashed images of trees and forests.

Image by Tegan Upton, Projection

Purdy Hicks felt much more like a typical gallery as you would expect it; a white space with images dotted around the room. The upstairs had a much warmer feel than the industrial feel which the downstairs had. As at the Jerwood Space, we had a talk from Nicloa Shane, director at Purdy Hicks. Purdy Hicks seem to keep everything very simple; the leaflets we were given were very minimal with just a few images and the essential information, whereas the Jerwood Space gave you several leaflets all very busy, on coloured paper/card and full of text. Purdy Hicks gallery does not receive any funding and purely relies on the sale of work to run. It is linked with the University of Art and Design in Helsinki.

Upstairs was a photography exhibition showing the work of Anni Leppala. There were a few very small scale pieces which we were told is how Leppala normally works and that the few larger pieces (which weren’t really that big) were very unlike Leppala. Most images were mounted on thin white wooden frames, however one or two images did not have frames.

Image by Annie Leppala

Image by Annie Leppala










Downstairs there were several small rooms which showcased artwork and one or two sculpture pieces. I did not enjoy these as much, they didn’t seem to have as much story behind them or to interpret. However, this Susan Derges image did catch my eye; it is a Unique Ilfochrome Print. The ripples in the water distort the shape of everything else but also adds detail to the water.

Image by Susan Derges, Gibbous Moon Alder 2 2009

I liked how the two exhibitions were very different to each other but still had their similarities. This has shown me that exhibitions do not have to be presented in the same way as eachother and has inspired creativity within me for when it comes to me presenting my own work whether in a white space or book.