Herwig Turk : clymanbay, 2013
When Herwig Turk takes to the salt desert of Utah (USA), to explore the different aspects of landscape through his comprehensive artistic research project including the works clymanbay (2013) and others, he does this against the backdrop of a landscape concept which evolved in the USA during the 19th century, and which still prevails. The subject here is “appropriation” of landscape as a form of “nation building”, as a civilising project to accompany the colonisation of the American continent. Land Art, influenced as it is by the urge to break away from conventional ideas of art and the hegemony of exhibition space, ultimately sees itself in this tradition; but, with the discovery of a new and unoccupied space, it resorts to the same resources as those for “appropriation”. In the reception of Land Art, however, it is often forgotten, that it is determined by an attitude which assumes the malleability and the self-evident availability of the landscape. It is a similar situation with the media used to render landscape interventions – photography and film; their use, too, receives little reflexion, but are employed as a means to an end, without evaluating the specifics, let alone the medial significance. In his comprehensive research, Herwig Turk gives an exemplary account of the history of a landscape which can be characterised by the suppression of visibility, where historical and political strata overlap, with a mutual levelling effect. His work is an attempt to reveal these overlapping formations and give them visual presence.