Why is Landscape Beautiful? (1)
The exhibition brings together works by artists who all share an interest in landscapes, spaces and environments. It takes its title from the essay of the same name by Lucius Burckhardt, the Basel sociologist, planning theorist and architect, who explores the question of what landscape is – namely a construction. Burckhardt suggests that landscape exists not as a phenomenon of the environment, but arises in the imagination of the person looking at it. This way of looking is governed by a process of selection: only by means of this selection process – via exclusion, filtering and re-combination – does the picture of a landscape take shape.
As a way of seeing, subjective perception also enables movement and positioning in the landscape to become part of the creative process. The Regionale artists at Kunsthalle Basel take account of this and direct their view at subsidiary motifs and everyday vistas, at architecture that determines our surroundings, and likewise at natural features and at experienced, appropriated and interiorized space.
The results are personal topographies and narratives about places that are familiar to us all, and all of which – astonishingly – are beautiful. For that is Burckhardt’s conclusion: it is impossible to generate an ugly image of landscape.
Hans-Rudolf Fitze, Gina Folly, Jonas Hänggi, David Heitz, Rut Himmelsbach, Jan Hostettler, Cécile Hummel, Georgine Ingold, Werner von Mutzenbecher, Raoul Müller, Boris Rebetez and works from the collection of Basler Kunstverein.
(1) Lucius Burckhardt (1979), in: Lucius Burckhardt Writings. Rethinking Man-made Environments, Politics, Landscape and Design. Ed. Jesko Fezer and Martin Schmitz, Wien 2012. S. 133-141.