Mikael Levin: Spleen
Gelatin silver prints. Varying sizes. Edition of 5.
Looking at western art spanning from the early Renaissance through to the invention of photography, one sees how depicted scenes of nature evolve into landscapes - actual places, identified in time. Nature, an ideal, becomes landscape, a reality.
Photography is the perfect medium for presenting a landscape. Inherently real, it organizes space and records time.
But if landscape comes to be seen as a construct, nature again emerges as a separate concept. Nature is now the reality, while landscape becomes but one way of representing it.
How does one photograph the reality of nature without the distancing of landscape?
The Gowanus canal is a cut into the urban space dating back to the heyday of Industrialization. In this detritus of modernity it is hard to distinguish between the constructed and the natural, between landscape and nature.
His work has been exhibited widely in the US and in Europe, including solo exhibitions at the Jewish Museum, Paris (2010), the Berardo Museum, Lisbon (2009), the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (2003), the International Center of Photography, New York (1997), and Fundacion Mendoza, Caracas (1980). His work was included in the Venice Biannual in 2003 (Notes from the Periphery). His work is included in the permanent installation of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and he is represented in major collections such as those of the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Metropolitan Museum (New York), the International Center of Photography (New York), the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (Paris), the Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), and Moderna Museet (Stockholm).
Mikael Levin lives in New York.