SILVA, Corinne

London-based artist Corinne Silva’s practice explores the use of the still and moving image in suggesting metaphysical space. Her quiet, meditative visual language engages with the potentials and restrictions of lens-based media and the evolving relationship between politics, landscape and art histories.

These themes are developed through video and photographic wall installations that explore the intersection between botanical and urban landscapes. Silva connects ideas of human mobility and porous frontiers to translate and re-construct material landscape, forming imaginary landscapes.

While her work emerges out of late twentieth-century critical and conceptual landscape practices, Silva subverts these visual languages by avoiding both the disinterested gaze and the ‘monumental’ landscape. Instead, fragmentation acts as her language to create new narrative possibilities.

In her video works, Silva explores individuals living on thresholds, caught in transit or stasis. Through the use of allegory and affect, she connects the physical territory with subjective internal landscapes. Narratives of landscape, historical events and personal histories merge in these works, expressed through layerings of image and sound.

Through her installations Silva constructs subjective threshold states, opening up new possibilities to consider the relationship between landscape and inhabitant, between the material and the imaginary, and between visual art and invisible conditions.

FIELDWORK Q&A – June 2015

How is fieldwork part of your practice?
Although I make some work in the studio, the majority of my practise is photography, video and sound, made in different geographical locations, largely in Britain and the Mediterranean. My process is a combination of research and my experience of place – spending time in a landscape that interests me, and feeling my way through it. Often, I return to places again and again over a period of a few years. Each time I go, something new opens up to me, I learn to see and experience more. This comes from the time spent between trips: thinking, reading, talking, and reflecting on the work I have already made. Through this, my awareness grows and I can then read the landscape more deeply.

How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
Walking is central to how I understand landscape, and increasingly is taking a central role in my production. A recent work, ‘Eighteen Days of Sarha?’ – a performative talk and sixteen photogravures – starts from eighteen walks I made in the Ricote Valley, Murcia, Spain. In the talk I consider what it means to ‘cultivate wildness’ in oneself through walking; explore what traces of the Muslim empire’s legacy remain in this landscape; and reflect on what photography can and cannot do in terms of creating, or recreating, a phenomenological experience of place.

How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
I share my work through exhibiting and publishing, as well as artist talks. I currently have a solo show of Garden State at The Mosaic Rooms London. The exhibition is made up of two installations, one a photographic wall installation, the other a room installation of photographs and sound. This is work I made over a four-year period in Palestine/Israel that relates to the politics of planting in the region. I am also publishing a book of the same name later this year.

Imported Landscapes