Dik Bouwhuis

Dik Bouwhuis, Ulcinj, Montenegro, Tourist Landscapes: A walk along the Mediterranean Sea, 2009-2010
Dik Bouwhuis, Herceg Novi, Montenegro, Tourist Landscapes: A walk Along the Mediterranean Sea, 2009-2010

Tourist Landscapes: A Walk Along the Mediterranean Sea

Opening: 3 June at 8 pm

3-28 June 2014

LP bar / ZRC Atrium, Ljubljana

WHERE: Novi trg 2, Ljubljana

With the Bechers as its most exemplary representatives, the last quarter of the 20th century showed us a conceptual photographic practice in which objectivity was understood as reality and truth. Over a course of time, influenced by the ideas of the German philosopher Hans Georg Gadamer (Truth and Method), it became clear to me that there is a discrepancy between this understanding of objectivity and the methodical pursuit of it.

In our general understanding of the terms, objectivity excludes subjectivity and vice versa, but when considering a more profound experience of truth and reality, the one doesn’t seem to exist without the other.

When contemplating a work of art we may become tourists travelling through a zone where the personifications of objectivity and subjectivity are seducing each other by means of colour, form, and space in their longing to come together for a moment and transform into something that surpasses either. In this rare moment of synthesis we may experience a manifestation of truth or unbounded reality. For my current photographic work this zone of seduction, confrontation and transcendence finds its materialisation in the landscape of our holidays because for me, art is there, where you don’t expect it. At the core of my work as an artist is my looking for a perfect balance between objectivity and subjectivity in order to experience a deeper sense of truth.

The Mediterranean tourist landscape can be understood as a collective emotional and mental landscape. It’s a mythical landscape; a landscape full of promise, a landscape of great expectations and deep desires. For me it was also the holiday environment of my childhood. In many ways, it is a landscape of transformation. Since the World War II the Mediterranean coast is under permanent reconstruction. Conglomerations of seaside tourist resorts have been gradually transforming the seascape in a linear mega-polis stretching out from the south of Portugal to the south of Turkey. During high season the tourist masses transform the landscape into a kind of everyman’s land and when the season is over they leave it behind a no man’s land, the largest ghost town on earth.

An artist can take a banal object from its everyday context and place it in another context by which means it may possibly take on a different meaning. As a meandering artist I, on the other hand, started off by placing myself in this other world, this tourist landscape. Supported by a conceptual framework and techniques that were already used by the surrealists (such as the aimless stroll), I experienced how the “meaning” of everyday objects and structures that shapes the tourist zone can be intensified and transformed under the influence of that environment and my own psychological perception in that context.

Dik Bouwhuis