270 x 270 mm
Around the world, the notion of ‘the Dutch landscape’ still evokes an image that is strongly influenced by the painterly tradition of unspoilt and idyllic farmland. However, like many other countries, the Netherlands has altered radically over the last century. Agriculture is being supplanted by suburbs, infrastructure for the sake of mobility, and recreation. The Netherlands currently enjoys international renown for its acuity in planning and radically high-tech methods used to control and mould the landscape and nature: water management, engineering technologies for spraying pancake-like layers of sand to drastically reshape or actually create land and computer-controlled horticulture in greenhouses. Since the 1980s, a number of outstanding landscape photographers and video artists have been taking this artificial character of the Dutch landscape and nature as their creative point of departure. Their works of art capture motorways, railways and the recently created landscape of symmetrical polders, glasshouses, business parks and suburban residential districts. At the same time they are searching for a new aesthetic that is no longer based on that of bucolic Old Master paintings. Several of these photographers and artists are already establishing a reputation in the Netherlands and abroad. Nature as Artifice brings them together for the first time, lending their work greater visibility abroad, positioning it in the context of international developments in contemporary art and photography, and simultaneously contributing to new perceptions of the Dutch landscape.
About the Authors
Auke van der Woud (b. 1947) was professor of architectural and urban history in Amsterdam and Groningen for over twenty years. He writes about the Netherlands in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 2007 he received the Libris History Prize (then called The Best History Book) for A New World . In 2010 he was awarded the Great Rotterdam-Maaskant Prize for his ‘excellent oeuvre that deepens thinking about the nineteenth century, (…) with a literary style rarely encountered in academia’.
Maartje van den Heuvel is curator of Photography at Leiden University Libraries.
Tracy Metz, a native of California, is a journalist and author based in the Netherlands. She writes for the national newspaper NRC Handelsblad and is an international correspondent for the New York-based magazine Architectural Record. She was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is the author of a number of books, including FUN! Leisure and Landscape, about the impact of our leisure activities on the way we use and perceive our surroundings. Her most recent book is Sweet&Salt: Water and the Dutch, on the extreme makeover of the Dutch landscape to accommodate a new relationship to water.
Alison Nordström is an independent scholar, curator and writer. She was formerly the Curator-at-Large at George Eastman House, in Rochester, New York, the oldest and largest museum of photography in the world. She has curated over 200 exhibitions and published numerous books, monographs, chapters and scholarly articles.
About the Publisher
NAi Publishers was founded more than a decade ago as the exhibition department of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, but soon established a distinctive and independent profile. With the publication of over 800 titles since the early 1990s, NAi Publishers, under the leadership of director Eelco van Welie and his predecessor Simon Franke, has established an internationally prominent position in the fields of architecture, art, photography and design.