Landscape Trauma

8 June - 24 September 2023

“When we ‘see’ a landscape, we situate ourselves in it.”

John Berger

Landscape Trauma explores the different ways in which we impact the landscape and suggests that nature cannot be viewed without considering our relationship to it. Landscape is understood as a site of history and conflict as well as the subject of more recent human interventions that include farming, industry, oil exploration, tourism, terrorism and war.


The exhibition features the work of Keith Arnatt, John Blakemore, Victor Burgin, John Davies, Willie Doherty, Melanie Friend, Fay Godwin, Paul Hart, Paul Hill, Roshini Kempadoo, Simon Norfolk, Ingrid Pollard, Paul Seawright, Mitra Tabrizian, and Jane and Louise Wilson.


Its title acknowledges a previous exhibition on the subject curated by Richard Hylton and its timing coincides with the 25th anniversary of Simon Norfolk’s seminal book, For Most of It I Have No Words (1998). It is structured around two major themes, Natural Histories and Human Nature.


Natural Histories explores the ways in which the past is reflected in the present. Victor Burgin combines the distant and recent past to address the Holocaust; Simon Norfolk presents sites of atrocities; Willie Doherty shows an anti-terrorist road-block and Paul Seawright presents sites of Sectarian murders; Ingrid Pollard uses rocks to suggest the accumulated layers of history; and Jane and Louise Wilson monumentalise the massive insertion of concrete look-out bunkers.


Human Nature presents more recent incursions into the countryside. Keith Arnatt’s ANOB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) looks at the effects of tourism; John Blakemore, Fay Godwin, and Paul Hill address the ways that our right to roam is restricted; Melanie Friend shows an Immigration Removal Centre at Dover and Salisbury Plain scarred by war games; Paul Hart explores the dominance of industry and electricity pylons; John Davies campaigns to preserve trees and thereby thwart a housing development; Roshini Kempadoo critiques the links between oil exploration and colonialism; and Mitra Tabrizian wittily shows the world turned upside-down by the Covid-19 pandemic.


We are grateful to the photographers for their assistance and for their loans of works, which are presented alongside a selection of pictures loaned by the Hyman Collection.


Curated by James Hyman.


Installation Views