Ana Matos



Throughout the centuries, the concept of Landscape has been transformed by distinct interpretations that artists, in each age, have instilled in their works of Art. In Antiquity and until the 15th century, we can find, most of all, the landscape as an element of the Historic Painting, which sought that ideal of the "Natural Beauty". With the Modern Age scientific achievements, the knowledge about Nature and its phenomena, and its "objectivization", contribute for the landscape to establish itself as an autonomous artistic genre, yet still very classic and naturalistic. Throughout the following centuries, and until the beginning of the 20th century, the Landscape painting meets great masters like John Constable and J.M.W.Turner, and Jean-Claude Monet as the one of the icons of the Impressionism. During this period, and as a consequence of the industrialization and urbanization, artists have developed a different sensibility and awareness of what the "landscape" was. We keep finding, in the Modern and Contemporary Art, the presence of the Landscape as a genre, influenced by other social and geographic events. After all, it has always been there and it's what the Earth has the most.



With this very short overview over the History, it interests me to highlight one aspect on which Tiago Casanova's 'Pearl' puts its focus on. Is that of the approach that artists have had and keep having to the Landscape: there is Man and his intervention on the Nature. Therefore, the Landscape is not only an aesthetic or geographic "identity", but also a place, a territory that results and reacts to the transformations produced by Man. Known as the "Pearl of the Atlantic" since the 60s, the Madeira Island (where Tiago Casanova was born) is the place that interested him to explore. He covered places of his island with the sensibility of a virgin eye, in search of the splendor of the natural resorts. At the same time, we sense his profound knowledge and aesthetic consciousness of the intervention of Man on that very same Landscape. Between these pair of forces - Nature and Construction - there is the comfort of a viewpoint where we relish the landscape, and the confrontation with a road that bursts into the sea. A natural and urban landscape of the Madeira Island captured by a contemporary photographer, where it is not possible to abstract his architect background, which assumes here other instrumental formalities. «Pearl» retrieves that ethnographic sense that some - fortunately many - bestow on the artistic practice. Let's follow Hal Foster summoning and go back to the Real. A sustainable real, fair and better, because it respects Nature and Man, one as much as the other.



(Translated from the portuguese by Jaime Vasconcelos)

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