Peter Hutchinson

Galerie Bugdahn

Peter Hutchinson is well-known for his Earthworks, with their subtle interventions into the landscape. In his recent show, he exhibited photographs or, better, photo-collages. Various images of gardens, flowers, snow-covered mountains, etc., were cut into little pieces and then reassembled, sometimes also overpainted at connecting places. His theme remains the landscape and here, as in his previous works, he alters what he finds. The actual interventions rely on the suggestive power of photography. Mounds of different colored flowers—flowers that perhaps have never simultaneously bloomed together—are documented as existing in a small space. Yet even without an extensive knowledge of botany, we understand the impossibility of this simultaneity. Landscape is a modern arcadia, without shepherd and song, but with breadth and harmony. To code the individual parts of Hutchinson’s arcadia would be to destroy its unity.

Beneath the landscapes were small, handwritten texts—poetic remarks that capture the moment of immersion into arcadia, or the unity between Hutchinson and the work. This is a unity that at least since the Enlightenment is no longer plausible. The unity between mankind and nature has disappeared—exactly as has the idea of the individual as a unified social being. Such ideas can only be conjured up by image or word, and even then they remain foreign.

In the second series of works, this concept of unity is also central; here, we see boxes in which various materials are combined in a visual and causal unity. Paramount in each of these works is the principle of reunifying the fragments of reality. Unity is achieved through the relationships among the parts to be found not in real space, but in the space of ideas.

Sabine B. Vogel

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.