Devastating natural disasters have occurred around the world in the past couple of decades, worsened by global warming, erosion and deforestation. The fact that Europe has largely been spared is due not only to its topography and climate. The ‘avalanche winter’ of 1951 that killed 250 people in the Alps and the deadly North Sea floods of 1962 in which more than 300 people died, were the last major natural catastrophes in Central Europe and provided the impetus for massive
protective building projects.
In State of Nature, Claudius Schulze depicts gorgeous European landscapes and the defences that fortify them: alpine panoramas dissected by snow sheds, the North Sea coast furrowed by breakwaters. The photos do not claim to delineate the border between ‘culture’ and ‘nature’; rather, they make clear how much the two spheres overlap. The defences are the prerequisite to these landscapes: the sunshine sparkles on the surface of a mountain lake only because the lake was artificially created, dunes only rise because they are protected against storm surges and vast areas of land would be inundated by the sea if not dyked. This is the dialectic of defences: they fortify the idyllic and simultaneously reveal its fragility.
Who? Claudius Schulze
Docking September 1 - 26
Working on State of Nature
About climate change
Gallery owner at ROBERT MORAT | GALERIE
ROBERT ON CLAUDIUS
"Claudius Schulze' series "State of Nature" is at the same time mesmerizingly beautiful and irritating, asking pressuring questions about the consequences of man made climate change and it's manifestation in the landscape. Following the tradition of the classical romantic landscape, Claudius' images document the altering of our environment by modern civilization and the clash of nature and man - to whom nature has always been both, a sublime vision of paradise and the source of fear and threat. "State of Nature" shows this ambiguity and the longing of modern civilization for protection and the illusion of safety. To quote from Claudius' artist statement "Supplying an unequitable desire for perfect security, the modification of the topography has reached an unprecedented level. Limiting the chaotic and destructive forces that once made nature sublime, the new landscape is built with the objective of harmless harmony. Ultimately, nature is turned into a picturesque scenery Europeans perceived it as since the late 19th century". The work asks important questions, questions very present in an exposed country like The Netherlands and he seems to me to be the perfect candidate for a residency at Docking Station."