Um lugar para ir

Henry Iddon traz a fotografia de paisagem para o campo do documental. Ao  aproximar suas clássicas paisagens de montanhas, realizadas no Reino Unido, de referências históricas ou jornalísticas querelatam desventuras ocorridas nesses locais, acaba por ressignificar as paisagens com outras espessuras e densidades, dando a imaginar não só o que foi dito, como também outras estórias.

Lancashire – Reino Unido

Large format photographs of mountain landscapes in the UK where there have been fatal accidents. On the the 17th April, 1805 the artist, Charles Gough, set off with his dog over the mountain Helvellyn. He was never seen alive again, but found three months later, his dog still guarding his body. Gough has since been commemorated in verse by William Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott, and been the subject of paintings by Francis Danby and Sir Edwin Landseer.

Others have explored the idea of mountain accidents. Italian Salvator Rosa produced a painting in the late 1660‘s showing Empedocles hurling himself into the mouth of Mount Etna. This promoted the cult of agreeable terror. The style of the image influenced Horace Walpole and Thomas Gray as they headed to the Alps in the 1740’s. They provided the first Romantic account of mountain sublimity.

Between 1776 and 1779 the English painter John Robert Cozens toured the Alps with Richard Knight Payne. Payne insisted that true sublimity came wrapped in a garment of memories and associations. The sublime was not simply an apparition that imprinted itself on the untutored senses. Its emotional force depended on the beholder responding through a veil of remembered phenomena: stories, myths, histories. The artist who would do most justice to the power of mountain glories, then, would make sure he evoked these memories in the landscape.

Moses said he spoke to God from on the mountain and saw the promised land. Mountains in many cultures, are where gods and humans meet, the axis mundi. To the Lakota shaman of Dakota there was something to be seen in the mountains: the Great Spirit, Wakonda, was embedded with the rock and scree. Yet the modern explorer wished to overpower the mountains. Sir Francis Younghusband the chairman of the Everest Committees of the 1920’s put the matter thus:

“Both man and mountain have emerged from the same original Earth and therefore have something in common between them. But the mountain is the lower in the scale of being, however massive and impressive in outward appearance. And man, the punier in appearance but the greater in reality, has that within him which will not let him rest until he has planted his foot on the top most summit of the highest embodiment of the lower.He will not be daunted by bulk.”

Yet Taoist tradition believed the five sacred mountains of ancient China were features of a vision of the world that was spiritual rather than physical. The high sacred mountains were places from which to survey the mysterious immaterial essence of the worlds spirit.

There can be no doubt that landscapes exert a subtle power over people.
What this work hopes to do is go beyond the barrier, that picture postcard one dimensionality that is of found when looking at a mountain landscape. Mountain landscapes will not always be simple ‘places of delight’ – scenery as sedative, topography so arranged to feast the eye.