Art and nature?
What started out as a trend in sculpture to incorporate natural materials such as earth, rocks and plants quickly turned into a process-based approach to creating art in a specific location.land artis done directly in the landscape by carving the earth itself or creating structures in the landscape with natural materials. Land art was part of the conceptual art movement in the 1960s and 1970s, established by a group of pioneering artists who investigated natural sites, alternative modes of artistic production, and ways around the commercial art system. Some artists used mechanical earthmoving equipment to create their works, while others made minimal, temporary interventions in the landscape. These works were usually documented through photographs, films and maps in order to be displayed in galleries. Discover five artists working in the landscape here.
1. Jim Denevan
Through Land Art, artist Jim Denevan interacts with the Earth's topography to create works of varying scale in sand, earth and ice. These pieces range from smaller compositions on the beach to large works on land the size of a city. These pieces of ephemeral nature disappear with the tides, winds and seasonal progressions. Jim Denevan has created works of art virtually all over the world, both in the commercial and artistic space. Documentation of his land drawings has been exhibited at the Vancouver Sculpture Biennale, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, MoMA/PS1, and Peabody Essex Museum, among others. Denevan's work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, GQ, The Surfers Journal, Outside and Conde Nast Traveler, along with many other publications. His life and art are the subject of the newly released filmManin the Field (2021), in which director Patrick Trefz demonstrates Jim Denevan's experiences over an eight-year period.
Nils-Udo creates large, site-specific installations that contemplate humanity's relationship and impact on nature. His works, often ephemeral, remain in the memory, through photography. After moving to rural Bavaria in southern France in the 1960s, Nils-Udo became involved with the natural environment, using organic materials to form supernatural sculptures. Thus, it became known for its nest constructions, including monumental bowls of layered sticks rising from the ground and fruit nestled in snowdrifts. Nils-Udo, who also creates extensive tree plantation facilities, has already managed to demonstrate his talent in over 40 countries around the world. Always inspired by the particular topologies of each location, whether in Mexico City, New Delhi or the country of Namibia. Its installations serve as reflections on the cycle of life and natural history. Since the 2000s, Nils-Udo has also made paintings that depict natural environments in soft colors.
3. Robert Smithson
Robert Smithson has developed innovative ways to explore our relationship with the planet, pushing the boundaries of artistic practice. The first monumental earthwork job was Asphalt Rundown, in a quarry outside Rome. For this sculpture he loaded a truck with hot asphalt and then had the truck unload the contents onto the sides of a quarry so that the mixture would cool and harden as it fell, appearing to merge with the sides of the quarry. Robert Smithson stated that his intention was to "root it into the contour of the earth, so that it is permanently there and subject to weathering". It demonstrates the importance of entropy in his thinking, as here gravity and energy loss are an integral part of the creation of the work. Another landmark work of art in Robert Smithson's artistic history was Spiral Jetty. The northern section of the Great Salt Lake was cut off from the freshwater supply when a nearby causeway was built by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1959. This led to the water's unique red-violet coloring, due to a concentration of salt-tolerant bacteria and algae. Smithson particularly liked the color combination because it evoked a ruined and polluted science fiction landscape. In order to draw attention to environmental issues, Robert Smithson inserted his work in this damaged section using natural materials native to the area. The spiral structure was inspired by the growth patterns of crystals, but it also resembles a primitive symbol, resembling an ancient landscape, although it also looks futuristic.
The snow-covered landscapes around Silverthorne became the canvases for artist Simon Beck. The geometric designs were inspired by Koch's snowflake and became more complex over time. Typically, Simon's works cover an area of 1 to 4 hectares (corresponding to 2 to 8 football fields) and take up to 12 hours to complete and require a walk of 20 to 30 kilometers in the snow. His creations are truly unique artistic performances and technically shaped by the varied and challenging conditions of the environment.
Agnes Denesis a leading figure, internationally known for works created in a wide range of techniques. As a pioneer of environmental art, he created Rice/Tree/Burial in 1968 in Sullivan County, New York, which, according to renowned art historian and curator Peter Selz, was “probably the first large-scale site-specific piece anywhere with ecological concerns.” Wheatfield – The Confrontation by Agnes Denes is one of the great transgressive masterpieces of Land Art. It was created over a period of four months in the spring and summer of 1982, when Denes, with support from the Public Art Fund, planted a field of golden wheat near Wall Street and the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan (now the location of Battery Park City and the World Financial Center).The works of Agnes Denes are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Pompidou Center in Paris; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the KunsthalleNürnberg and many other important institutions around the world.