Dissertation title: Earth in Focus: The Complex Sculptures of Land Art and their Big Picture Effect, as seen through the Lens of Photography and Film (1960s-1970s).
Supervisors: Professor Geraldine Johnson and Professor Anthony Gardner
Supported by: the AHRC Fellowship, the Scatcherd Fellowship, and the Sir Bryan Cartledge Scholarship.
Summary of my PhD:
This dissertation focuses on previously unstudied material of the films and photographs of and as Land Art, in which the reciprocal relation between the Land Art sculptures in situ and lens-based media is considered. It introduces the notion of ‘complex sculptures’, sculptures that are not only site-specific, located within the landscape or in an exhibition space, but also time-specific, mediated through photography, film, and even television. The complex sculptures of Land Art are thus shown to incorporate both a mediated and phenomenological viewpoint.
New archival material is presented through which a re-evaluation of Land Art becomes possible, one that includes the abundant use of lens-based media by the artists working in early Land Art. This is related to the socio-political circumstances of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and to specific historical events. The importance of a decentring dynamic in the Land artworks is pointed out and related to the ‘primary humility’ that certain critics perceived in Land Art. Not in the sense of a sublime experience that overwhelms reason completely, or a ‘back to nature’ experience, but as a channelled, constellational experience of multiple elements. It is thus shown that the artists of Land Art were seeking ways in which both presence and absence, ‘presentness’ and distance, would become components of their aesthetics through their search for a continuous relationship between their artworks on-site and the distancing and displacing functions of different media, like film, photography and texts. This dialectical constellation of elements is directly bound to the ontology of Land Art (or: its ‘the conditions of possibility’) – an ontology that points to a search for a different worldview: interested in ‘the bigger picture’ of the relation of human beings and our planet, as well as the growing awareness – as a lived experience – of the intrinsic reciprocity of our lives.
Teaching: I hold a MA in both History of Art (New York University) and Philosophy (University of Amsterdam), and I am available to teach in both disciplines. Recently taught modules include:
- From Post-War to Post-Modern: Photography in Europe and America, 1945-1990s
- The Experience of Modernity: Visual Culture and Aesthetics, 1880-1925
- Methodologies in the History of Art (18th to 21th century)
Possible other themes for tutorials and/or seminars:
- Land Art in America and Europe; or: and Eastern Influences; or: in relation to theories of phenomenology.
- Post-War and Contemporary American and/or European Art
- (The History of) Photography and Film
- Aesthetics / Philosophy of Art and Culture
- Theory and the (visual) history of melancholy (on the intersection of psychology, philosophy, and aesthetics)
- Theories of mimesis, identity and aesthetics (philosophies of identity, Frankfurter Schule, post-structuralist philosophy)