Reclaimed


Volkeraksluizen
Hand-embroidered intervention on Digital archival shoji prints.
65x45cms
2012-2016.


This a series completed first in photographic form in 2012, and througout the following years delicately intervened with hand-embroidery. It was a long process of both reflection in regard to the theme, and mastery of embroidery technique on delicate papers. The series was completed in 2016.
The series as a whole explores land reclaimed by the Netherlands due in large part to its water management techniques & technologies, how we might imagine original landscapes that have not been intervened by the human hand, and how well land that has been reclaimed/intervened can more or less replicate a true sense of the natural world. 

The images explore the asethetics of this reclaimed/intervened land, while hand-embroidered interventions depict some of the storm surge barriers that allow the land to remain stable. The last image is what I believe is the closest to what the original swamplands would look like, without any water management systems or any other technology used to reclaim land from the sea, and without any human intervention in terms of landscaping.

The photographs have been printed on very thin shoji paper, and all but one are intervened with hand-embroidery. Each work is meant to hang freely, so that light comes through the photographs, evidencing the fragility of any man-made landscape. In this way of hanging the works, the public can see both sides of the hand-embroidered work. This being able to see from both sides, the skill needed for the embroided interventions, reflects or can be seen as a paralellism of the level of mastery needed for the storm surge barrier structures themselves, in relation to the reclaimed land. So, both theme & materials in the works have a dialogue between each other, as well as a specific reason for being used in conjunction.












Mark