Canadian artist Kelly Richardson is one of the leading representatives of a new generation of artists working with digital technologies to create hyper-real, highly charged landscapes, alongside figures such as John Gerrard and Saskia Olde Wolbers.
'Legion' is her first one-person exhibition in the UK, and provides a retrospective of over a decade of her work, including the UK premieres of four large-scale installations and the world premiere of one work.
|Richardson's work imagines an array of possible futures for humankind. She draws on the imagery of science-fiction cinema, literature, and the history of landscape painting to visualize the kind of relationships mankind may yet have to the natural world in an imagined near future. Her works are created by combining high-tech animations with footage of some of the world's most spectacular wildernesses. They ask us to imagine what future mankind can shape for itself and the planet when environmental meltdown seems, to many, to be all but unavoidable. Many of her best-known works create a vision of a world on the brink of apocalypse. In 'Exiles of the Shattered Star', fragments of a second sun fall to earth, covering the mountains and hills of the |
|This is the first time that the artist has been able to show multiple works at the same time, and this is a major mid-career retrospective that will introduce her work to new audiences across the |
'Legion' is the first leg of a major international tour supported by Arts Council England and the Canada Council and initiated by Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art:
'Legion': Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art,
Works in the exhibition:
The Erudition, 2011, three-channel hi-definition widescreen video installation
'The Erudition' presents what seems to be an almost lunar landscape - or at least an other-worldly one. Lacking in any normal flora or fauna, it is populated only by what seem to be either the ghosts of trees past, or else spectral, holographic projections. Nature has become virtual.
The natural life here resembles the hallucinations generated by a super-computer. It is as though HAL from the film 2001 had gained control of a planet and had begun inventing life again from scratch.
The trees sway gently in a fictional wind: but there is no evidence of any climate here. Are we witnesses to a forgotten site of proposed colonization on another planet? Or to the wrecked remnant of this one, after life is over?
Leviathan, 2011, three-channel hi-definition widescreen video installation
|Leviathan reveals an alarming landscape that seems neither natural nor capable of being man-made. We encounter a landscape seemingly devastated by a Biblical flood, where trees are submerged waist-deep in sticky, green water. The scenario resembles both scenes from science-fiction cinema, and the oldest and most fundamental classical myths or legend.|
Characteristically, the work overturns our initial expectations. Truth is stranger than fiction in
|The world we see, however, is indeed reshaped by |
Twilight Avenger, 2008, widescreen hi-definition video installation
|'Twilight Avenger' is a modern-day forest fable or science-fiction myth in which we encounter, unusually in |
|The Great Destroyer, 2007-2012, 7-screen video installation|
|'The Great Destroyer' is unique in Richardson's ouevre - a gigantic, room-scale eight-screen work that recreates being enveloped in an endless forest, so thick it resembles a jungle. Uniquely for her, the visual images are unadulterated - and "picture-perfect" so that we have an unnerving sense of anticipation and a sense of impending threat. The sense is extended, as there are no immediate visual revelations offered. Rather, after having scanned the horizon, whether for predators or unexpected additions to the landscape, we become aware over time that we should be paying close attention to our sense of hearing instead of sight. We are also enveloped into a natural soundscape of "the wild" - a positive symphony of animal noises, as different birds and insects fade in and out of focus. However, if we remain in the space, we also encounter a lyrebird's mating calls. The lyrebird is one of nature's mimics, who replicates sounds as part of his mating rituals. Here, the bird imitates thoroughly urban sounds, from a car alarm and gunshots to a chainsaw and the clicks of camera lenses being shuttered. Even here, deep inside 'nature', there is no 'wilderness', nor respite from modern life - and the 'great destroyer', we can only assume - is us.|