The continual availability of news on laptops, TVs and smartphones makes us perpetual witnesses to complex situations across the globe. Daily, we are confronted with images of poverty and despair; unsettling images; images that make us ill at ease.
With the large-scale video installation Guilty Landscapes that is exhibited at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST), Dutch artist Dries Verhoeven brings the reality of these uncomfortable news images confrontationally close. The artist poses the question of whether a personal connection is possible between the viewer and the person being viewed. What if the news were to look back at the audience? What if the protagonists on the evening news were to look us in the eye?
Dries Verhoeven is already well-known to the Athenian audience, having presented his piece Phobiarama – an all-black ‘haunted house’ installation – at Syntagma Square in 2017 (Fast Forward Festival). Verhoeven’s work highlights various aspects of contemporary society, especially the current crisis mindset and the influence of digital media on interpersonal relationships. Blurring the boundary between performance and installation art, his unique piece Guilty Landscapes evokes a shared vulnerability between the viewer and the viewed work, unlocking the potential for a deeper connection.
Guilty Landscapes consists by four episodes, created by the artist in 2016, on commission by various European cities. The first episode of the series will be presented at Athens & Epidaurus Festival.