Human Nature brings together the work of three photographers,
all of whom have recorded a deeply personal response to the
landscape. Works have been selected from solo exhibitions that took
place at Flowers Gallery during 2014. Approaching this theme from
diverse perspectives, the complex relationship between mankind and
the landscape is explored, reflecting upon our connection with, and
impact upon, the surrounding environment.
Since the 1980's South Korean photographer, Boomoon, has been
engaging with the natural landscape in his work as a means of
self-reflection, producing large format photographs of vast
expanses of sea, sky and land. The works on show in this exhibition
are from his series Sansu and Naksan. Sansurefers
to the concept of 'sansu' (mountain-water) a core conceptwithin the
representation of nature in Far-Eastern aesthetics; an idea centred
on the metaphysical union withnature. Boomoon's contemporary vision
of 'sansu' depicts Seoraksan National Park in all its graphic
detailin the midst of winter. Naksan, which takes its name
from a beach on the east coast of South Korea that faces Japan, is
characterised by details of crashing waves within snow covered seascapes.
Devoid of human presence, the central emphasis of his work is
the experience of the infinity of nature and the representation of
its presence. His work was described by Charlotte Cotton as
depicting 'the unknowable and uncontrollable character of nature.'
Nadav Kander's recent series Dust
explores the vestiges of the Cold War through the radioactive ruins
of secret cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia.
Evoking his sense of awe and fear as he responded to these places
and to the weight of their history, Kander's photographs portray
stark fact and bleak setting with a characteristic poeticism.
Priozersk and Kurchatov are closed cities,
utilized for the covert testing of atomic and long distance
weapons. Demolished to preserve their military secrets, the areas
now consist predominantly of the ruinous architecture and desolate
landscapes featured in Kander's hauntingly beautiful photographs. A
result of the Cold War and of the relentless quest for nuclear
armaments, the ruins stand as accidental monuments to the
melancholic, dark and destructive side of human nature.
'These images do not make beautiful what is
not, they ask of us that we repurpose ourselves to accept a new
order of both the beautiful and the real' Will Self
LA-based artist Mona Kuhn is acclaimed for her
intimate, contemporary depictions of the nude. Set against the
backdrop of the Californian desert, and photographed at the golden
modernist structure Acido Dorado in Joshua Tree National Park, her
series brings together the figure, abstractions and landscape into
one. The building's facade is glass and mirrors; it serves as an
optical extension to the artist's camera and lens. Light is split
into refracting colours, desert vegetation grows sideways, inside
is outside and outside in. Kuhn's playful combination of a number
of visual strategies, such as patterning, translucency and
reflectivity, appear to dissolve into the disorienting desert
landscape. Kuhn reflects on our connectedness with the environment
and questions our place within it.