Does landscape have an owner? Is it the person who owns the land itself, or the traveler who takes in the sight? In his book Landscape and Power, W. J. T. Mitchell notes that a landscape cannot merely be seen as an aesthetic object; rather, it should be “the focus of a historical, political, and aesthetic alertness to the violence and evil written on the land, projected there by the gazing eye.” As a medium, landscape is colored by mental images both immediate and remote, called up as one comprehends the world. Is the true order of the world hidden within these representations? If we understand a journey as a process of transformation in thought, then is it possible, on a trip in which one’s experience is predetermined, to move forward gradually, furtively, and rewrite the storyline? “The Rearview Landscape” considers the subjective act of viewing and the role it plays in the production of images. It brings together artworks that explore questions of immigration, trade, and the economics of travel from a post-colonial perspective. Within this site-specific assemblage, viewers are invited to reexamine their historical connection to our society of consumption and spectacle. “The Rearview Landscape” is curated by UCCA Curator Yan Fang.
Image: Shen Xin, Warm Spell (film still, detail), digital video, 34′. Courtesy the artist.
Aranya Gold Coast