David Tremlett

David Tremlett, like his countrymen Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, is a travelling artist. "Will the British never stop trying to explore the world?- was my first reaction upon seeing his new show in Amsterdam. Actually, Tremlett makes no mark, however transitory, upon the countryside, and while he does make photographs, he has, in contrast to his competitors, often been the main figure in his pictures, especially in the works of the ’70s where he shows himself to be a kind of funnyman—perhaps Lewis Carroll looking for Alice. Where Long photographs his heaps of stones, and Fulton the dramatic moment, Tremlett gives us pictures that look like tourist snapshots: the artist posed with inhabitants of a foreign country.

The focus of the Amsterdam show, however, is on the drawings that Tremlett made on the occasion of his trip through Africa. The little book that the Museum published during the show is called On The Border, the title referring to the borders of Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana. The terrain of his travels is converted into signs in these drawings: a zigzag line means mountains, red represents local color, the Limpopo River is shown as an irregular line, etc.

Tremlett’s drawings are made either directly on the wall or on paper. In the end, his work seems more private and self-centered than that of Long or Fulton. It is reminiscent of Richard Tuttle’s cautious esthetic approach.

Micky Piller