In 1940, Georgia O’Keeffe bought Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. This is where she travelled for her annual respites from New York’s din, to take pictures and paint the animal remains that are scattered all over the dry red soil. In 1962, John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The very same year, accompanied by his dog, he embarked on a camper journey around the United States and took notes for his Travels with Charley. He tells of the USA from the perspective of its wilds, preceding Jean Baudrillard’s famous America by 36 years.
A long time has passed since Walter De Maria, Donald Judd, Nancy Holt, Roni Horn and other displaced land art artists began to perceive the desert as an experience that allowed them to reset their senses. Why do artists find explorations of the peripheries so captivating? What are our expectations of the landscape genre today?
We are in the future. All-powerful nature is a dream that slowly blurs into distance. Experiencing direct contact with the environment is only known from hearsay. After being manipulated and transformed, nature is being meticulously devised, created and controlled. First-hand experience of nature is an uncommon situation and it can occur under specified conditions in nature reserves. The exhibition ‘Keep Both Feet on the Ground’ requires that the artists work on these circumstances, creating artificial imitations of nature. Their task is to conjure nature from scratch, so that it could be colonised again. The gallery becomes converted into a temporary lab, where the audience can experience the long-forgotten feeling of experiencing wilderness. Once again, nature has the appearance of a picturesque disaster that human beings want to defend themselves against by means of available knowledge and civilisational achievements.
Curator Marta Lisok
Artists: Alicja Boncel, Jakub Czyszczoń, Magdalena Franczak, Michał Gayer, Justyna Gruszczyk, Kornel Janczy, Weronika Kasprzyk, Magdalena Lazar, Krzysztof Maniak, Angelika Markul, Justyna Mędrala, Gizela Mickiewicz, Mateusz Sadowski, Michał Smandek, Magdalena Starska, Paweł Szeibel, Mikołaj Szpaczyński, Alex Urso, Bartosz Zaskórski