curated by Kitty Scott
The exhibition pleinairism is, with some exception, a selection of work on paper by artists, most of whom are rarely associated with plein air activity. Working plein air has a long history and first became popular among landscape painters in seventeenth-century Rome, while it was the very foundation of modern landscape art during the nineteenth century.
Surprisingly many contemporary artists continue to adopt this approach, perhaps because it offers a kind of immediacy, and freedom from the concerns of their primary practice.
What does the concept of plein air mean to artists at this moment? The water-colours, collages, paintings, texts, videos, drawings and photographs on display attest to a broad range of strategies: while some artists are intent on directly representing the world they inhabit, others seek to reinvent what plein air means in a contemporary context.
Much of work in the exhibition was made outdoors using natural light, and in response to the sun’s position, the surrounding scene, weather conditions—bound by a time contract as light changes and fades to darkness. Other artists are exploring how a plein air approach comes up against the more complex image making technologies available to us today. Still other artists allude to a natural world that is on the verge of disappearing.
With Francis Alÿs, AA Bronson, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Paul Chan, Tacita Dean, Jeremy Deller, Peter Doig, Ólafur Elíasson, Geoffrey Farmer, Joey Fauerso, Hreinn Friðfinnsson, Dan Graham, Joseph Grigely, Matthew Hale, Elín Hansdóttir, Roni Horn, Kelly, Jazvac, Brian Jungen, Janice Kerbel, Anja Kirschner, Ragnar Kjartansson, Ken Lum, Oliver, Lutz, Liz Magor, John Massey, Jonathan Meese, Charlie Morris, Chris Ofili, Silke, Otto-Knapp, Daniel Richter, Karin Sander, Katrín Sigurðardóttir, Andreas Siqueland, Melanie Smith, Michael Snow, Althea Thauberger and Lawrence Weiner