about land art

Vivoverde / about land art
gabriele meneguzzi and vincenzo sponga: our land art

The natural environment is unaware of its sometimes sweet and sometimes violent appearance, and the human being has always used this pre-painted canvas to experience transformable emotions.

The “land-artistic” movement is born thanks to a sort of revolutionary need leading to a new form of Art and above all the discovery and acceptance of the non-possession of the produced work. Therefore, it is almost impossible as a proposal for galleries or art enthusiasts.

Today, in a land-artist’s works we can already read the matrix he/she himself/herself has used to make a Land Art work, which can be briefly distinguished in: conceptual, if, within the work, there are strong and obvious contents related to man’s life (how connecting the man-earth-sky concept, or the energy-related human activities, etc.); abstract, when the work in its whole, however, cannot be traced back to known or recognizable forms; formal, when it deliberately reproduces known or recognizable forms.

However, this always comes after a starting point that will be: choosing the way of pure “Land Art”, without the supply of extraneous materials to those present on the chosen site, or the way of environmental intervention, which instead includes the addition and integration of non-natural materials, such as cement, iron, plastics, etc …
In the former case, the artist uses only those materials that he/she finds in the site, modifying and transforming them as he/she likes and needs, to obtain works of the utmost naturalistic fundamentalism. In the latter case, he/she adds alternative materials that essentially change the pre-existing framework, and sometimes in definitive way.

We have chosen to work with natural materials. Therefore, our creating before, and then our working in Nature, comes necessarily after choosing the location (the Natural Framework). Thus, we always create an art-work made by those materials that Nature allows us to use and that we find in the surrounding space.
The canvas (the Natural Picture), or the space used by the Man-artist, is then re-composed over time to allow a new game with new ideas, including comparison at a distance of new maturities, totally different from the previous work.

Therefore, it is imperative, first of all, knowing deeply the natural materials and their transformation over time and, then, being “not afraid” of the constructive techniques that almost always seems to be new, since each work is essentially different in idea, materials and space.

In our opinion, the location is always our starting point; it is the existing framework that must speak to us, first of all; essentially it “calls us” to tell us that we can play there.
“What to do” comes in a second moment, and usually the idea comes in very short time: almost always it’s very clear and very strong, and it will always be realized with materials existing and recoverable in the chosen location.
“How to” (that is, the working techniques to) realize the idea is for us the very last part, since we consider the technical problems as …what they are: means. Means that we use to achieve the goal, which is, in this case, the idea and the art-work. These will never – and in any detail – be modified by the initial creative flash, no matter what the technical problems are. They are sometimes insurmountable; they can be many and always new, being the ideas always profoundly different one from the other.
Our personal journey has led us to a more enjoyable Land Art form, in total opposition to the great American spaces in the ’60s, always difficult to reach. Our way of doing is absolutely mimetic and deeply integrated with the natural place. If the desert and the large non-anthropic spaces had become places of action for the American artists, for our “way of doing”, we prefer places as the wood, the garden, the river bed, the air, and, in any case, places with an easy access and an easier visibility, and also interior spaces. In our work, we always try to privilege the relationship between the work and the place, inviting the observer to re-evaluate the surrounding space with a new eye, rather than creating self-referential works (that is works that only show themselves).
We never try to let believe that the work is “part of Nature”, but we want it to maintain proudly the value of a “human sign”, without being overwhelming, aggressive, imposing, in any case. We also like to be ironic about it, and even more, not to suggest any title at first, so that everyone can fantasy and open his/her mind in ease if taken by the emotion of a sort of discovery. Then, the visitor can also know our point of view, which thus allows him/her not to plagiarize his/her primary emotion in front of the created work.