The exhibition Sublimated Landscapes examines the existence of the landscape genre in recent creative work.
Although the representation of nature is present in the paintings of Antiquity and of the Middle Ages, it is not until the end of the seventeenth century and the advent of romanticism that the landscape becomes a distinct subject in Italy and France.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the symbolist movement adapts the form, using it as a springboard for poetic wanderings and for the representation of the cosmos and the depths of the human soul. The sublime plays a central role in the investigations of romantic and symbolist artists and authors, whose works tend to transfigure the real, explore the unconscious, and encourage dreams and the imagination, most notably by engaging in hallucinatory experimentation. Henceforth, the representation of landscapes becomes an autonomous agent, and thus a producer of experiences.
In the essay The Decay of Lying (1891), the symbolist poet Oscar Wilde elucidates this particular link to Nature, finding it unsuitable for human progress and preferring instead Art as a pure creation of the mind : “Art has no plan, is astonishingly lacking in finiteness, and suffers from extraordinary monotony and total incompleteness.” In short, for the artist, any Beauty separate from that of Nature is seen to derive instead from human creativity. The autonomy of art must be preserved, its sources of inspiration located, and its subjective vision of reality allowed to develop.
The Chanot Contemporary Art Centre thus proposes an exploration of the possibilities of this genre, an exemplar of self-abstraction from the real, of the link between creation and reality, of contemplating the ether, and of seeing if, as Oscar Wilde asserts, “nature imitates art”.
Thanks are due to the following galleries : Air de Paris, Alberta Pane, Escougnou-Cetraro, and kamel mennour.