Thursday, 16 September 2010

Beyond the Picturesque 04.04.2009 - 23.08.2009

Curators: Steven Jacobs & Frank Maes

The concept of 'the picturesque' originated in the 18th century and was closely linked from the very start to that of the English landscape garden, which traded in the strict geometry of the French garden for a carefully recreated and staged image of nature.

The term 'picturesque' refers to a certain kind of landscape that was considered suitable as a subject for a painting, as well as to a part of reality that could be looked upon as if it were a painting. The term 'picturesque' refers to a child or landscape that was considered as a suitable subject for a painting, as well as to a reality that could be looked upon as if it were a painting. It is remarkable that a lot of contemporary artists are fascinated by the hybrid landscape in which the differences between centre and periphery, between city and countryside and between nature and culture are no longer clearly defined. Furthermore, the present natural landscape is to a large extent and on a global scale colonized and domesticated by means of a worldwide spread of images in the form of works of art and all kinds of media images of landscapes in film, television, tourism, etc.

The exhibition in the SMAK wants to investigate how the concept of 'the picturesque' can still (or again) be applied to artistic interpretations of the present landscape. Beyond the Picturesque presents works of Marcel Berlanger (BE), Marc De Blieck (BE), Damien De Lepeleire (BE), Alexis Destoop (BE), Robert Devriendt (BE), Geert Goiris (BE), Ellen Harvey (GB), Sylvia Henrich (DE), Axel Hütte (DE), Jan Kempenaers (BE), Jussi Kivi (FI), Mark Klett (US), Oliver Lutz (US), Rindfleisch/Rapedius (DE), Katrin Sigurdardottir (IS), Joel Sternfeld (US), Monica Studer / Christoph van den Berg (CH), Richard Sympson (IT), John Timberlake (GB), Mungo Thomson (US), Mario Garcia Torres (MX), Wouter Verhoeven (NL) and Christian Vetter (CH).

Courtesy: SMAK, John Timberlake 

By far one of the most interesting artists in Beyond the Picturesque is John Timberlake, who offers several variations on the romantic and picturesque scenery. In the series 'Another Country', he makes photographs of plastic figurines placed in front of paintings of apocalyptic landscapes. 'Colony 13' and 'Colony 14' (both 2006) are digitally printed photographs of cut areas of gravel. In those removed areas Timberlake seamlessly draws connecting canals, quarries and mountain landscapes into the picture. Finally, we see a selection from his series of 'Google Paintings',  in which, since 2007, he has worked on images derived from Google's project to publish moving pictures of all streets in the world. 

Excerpt taken from S.M.A.K. review from Metroplis M.
For more information visit,

Dutch to English translation

Artist John Timberlake will be leading an artists' talk on 30 October at 2pm as part of TBC's exhibition Delineation: Contemporary Dialogues with Drawing. Email 'talk' to to reserve a free place.

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