Landscapes after Ruskin: Redefining the sublime
Curated by: Joel Sternfeld
introduction by: Lynn Gumpert
With texts by Dale Jamieson, Chris Wiley and Joel Sternfeld
160 pages, 80 colour illustrations
25,5 x 28 cm, hardcover
John Ruskin was an influential English art critic and social thinker of the Victorian era, who famously argued that the principal concern of the artist is “truth to nature.” For Ruskin, this truth entailed more than merely adept technical representation: artists should, in fact, depict the natural world as mankind experiences it, with all the sensations of both beauty and terror it elicits.
Today, in a world overwhelmed by industrial development and environmental uncertainty, contemporary artists are discovering new beauties and terrors associated with nature, invoking a sense of the sublime that is uniquely modern. "Landscapes after Ruskin" explores how a joyful experience of nature is now mixed with a particular dread, as the earth and its atmosphere are increasingly touched by human activity. This striking volume probes the contemporary sites of the new sublime—from a steel factory couched in a nature park to the aerial view of a bombed city, and from mutating chromosomes to construction sites in suburbia—through essays by artists, photographers, and art historians, as well as experts in environmental studies and philosophy. Featuring more than fifty awe-inspiring artworks, "Landscapes after Ruskin" offers compelling—and chilling—insight into the truth of the natural world today.