Blueprints for a landscape (2019)

Print on paper (3 x 52x59,4 cm), edition of 6

Part of ‘Building an Archive of a Dsiappearing Landscape’ (2018) Thanks to Montei di Matteo

Venues: Neverneverland Gallery, Amsterdam (NL), CIAP Kunstverein

Blueprints for a landscape’, print, shown during ‘Ten is for God’ exhibition at Neverneverland, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

‘Blueprints for a landscape’ examines the concrete life-world of German post-mining landscape by zooming in and out and tries to map the various consequences which are still influencing both humans and landscape almost fifty years after the excavation. These consequences range from loss of a ‘site of memory’ to deep-rooted ecological changes to flora and fauna. While the old excavation site was turned into a lake, the soil, dust, and debris resulting from the excavation were replaced and used to build a coal mountain. ‘Blueprints for a landscape’ maps the area of Nordrhein-Westfalen from above, showing the new excavation site, the coal mountain and the lake from a birds-eye view. Although the manmade character of the landscape is not clearly visible when seen from the ground, the drastic physical change becomes apparent when mapping the landscape from above. The blueprints were made using the expertise of architect Montei Di Matteo and show the new excavation site, the lake, and the coal mountain, which are all located in close distance from each other.

The coal mountains are built from the soil and debris orignating from the excavation, while the pit is filled with water, turning  it into an artificial lake. The Blausteinsee (blue stone lake) derrives its name from the unusual blue colour which is triggered by the iron in the water.

This work is part of Building an Archive of a Disappearing Landscape (2018-ongoing), a project combining artistic work with theoretical research, resulting in a series of works and an artist publication. Starting from the notion of the my grandfather’s birthplace, which vanished from the map in 1976 due to lignite industry, it explores the changing of matter which occurs within the particular landscape of Nordrhein-Westfalen In West Germany. While young, my grandfather would walk with us along the borders of a lake; pointing towards the water, he would tell us that he was ‘born inside this lake’, which is geographically the old location of the village he was born in. The project examines the matter of this landscape in order to understand the various deep-rooted and ongoing consequences of this excavation, for both it’s human and natural inhabitants. These range from loss of sites of memory to dramatic ecological changes to flora and fauna, resulting in large areas which become permanently uninhabitable. While the old excavation site was turned into a lake, the soil, dust, and debris resulting from the excavation were replaced and used to build a coal mountain. By means of artistic research, the personal family history is placed within a larger Anthropogenic framework, relating the story to theories about landscape philosophy, material agency and the historicity of matter, shining a light on the microscopic and macroscopic landscape and the several hybrids which come into existence because of this industrial practice.