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Title: Earth in focus : the complex sculptures of land art and their 'big picture' effect, as seen through the lens of photography and film (1960s - 1970s)
Author: van der Leeuw, Sajda Alexandra Josee
ISNI:       0000 0005 0291 3759
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This dissertation focuses on previously unstudied material of the films and photographs of Land Art - or Earth Art, as it is sometimes interchangeably called - in which the reciprocal relation between the Land Art sculptures in situ (earthworks) and lens-based media is considered. It introduces the notion of 'complex sculptures', sculptures that are not only site-specific, located within the landscape or in an exhibition space, but also time-specific, mediated through photography, film, and even television. The complex sculptures of Land Art are thus shown to incorporate both a mediated and phenomenological viewpoint. I present new archival material to re-evaluate Land Art, especially given the abundant use of lens-based media by the artists of early Land Art, which is linked to the socio-political circumstances of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The importance of a decentring dynamic in the Land artworks is pointed out and related to the 'primary humility' that certain critics perceived in Land Art. Not in the sense of a sublime experience that overwhelms reason completely, or as a 'back to nature' experience, but through a channelled experience of multiple, constellational elements. It is thus shown that the artists of Land Art were seeking ways in which both presence and absence, 'presentness' and distance, would become components of their aesthetics through their search for a continuous relationship between their artworks on-site and the distancing and displacing functions of different media, like film, photography and television. This dialectical constellation of elements is directly bound to the ontology of Land Art (or: its 'conditions of possibility'), an ontology that points to a search for a different worldview: one that is interested in 'the bigger picture' of the relation of human beings to our planet, as well as in a growing awareness - through lived experience - of the intrinsic reciprocity of our lives.
Supervisor: Johnson, Geraldine ; Gardner, Anthony Sponsor: Art and Humanties Research Council ; Scatcherd Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Image Theory ; Exhibition history ; Theory of Art ; Ontology of Film ; Sculpture ; Photography ; Ontology of Photography ; Aesthetics ; Ontology of Art ; Film ; Philosophy ; Art History ; Bildwissenschaft