Merriam Crater Group, lightning, Arizona, 80 x 40 cm

Edge of the Worlds

Exhibition at Wirtschaftsclub Düsseldorf

Text: Sophia Sotke

“I don’t think art can stand up to nature. Put the best object you know next to the Grand Canyon, Niagara falls, the redwoods. The big things always win. Now just think of a flood, forest fire, tornado, earthquake […] Think of the breaking of the Ice jams. Crunch. If all of the people who go to museums could just feel an earthquake.”

In 1963, Walter De Maria used these words to describe a phenomenon that has a long tradition in American art: the sublime – the grace and grandeur of nature. From the romantic painters of the Hudson River School, who in the 19th century expressed the pioneering spirit of the settlers by depicting the beauty of the American landscape. Via the artists of Land Art, who in the 1960s turned the deserts of North America into the settings for their art – not with brushes and paint, but with bulldozers that dug holes in the earth. Or, in the case of Walter De Maria, with stainless steel rods in the New Mexican desert, which abstract the lightning from thunderstorms during the monsoon season. All the way to Victor Van Keuren.

sliderimage-Metamorphoses #10, 140 x 105 cm
Metamorphoses #10, 140 x 105 cm

“Edge of the Worlds” is a fascinating photographic exhibition that delves into the artist’s profound and expansive imagination. Victor van Keuren – a visionary artist known for his ability to capture the essence of the most remote places on our planet: from the barren, icy expanses of Antarctica to the hidden valleys of the Atacama. At the same time, he takes us, the viewers, on his experimental expeditions into fantasy lands. This exhibition is a testament to Van Keuren’s unparalleled ability: he uses the power of photography to bridge the gap between tangible reality and the magical landscapes that exist in his creative mind.

Each piece in the exhibition is meticulously crafted and showcases Van Keuren’s exceptional eye for detail, composition, and light. His work in remote landscapes offers the viewer a rare glimpse into parts of the world that are largely unseen and unexplored. Van Keuren’s approach to visual art is that of a journey. His ethereal, black and white desert landscapes reveal the scale of our planet in its timelessness and eternity. And by using drones, he succeeds in showing the world from a bird’s eye view. These photographs not only highlight the natural beauty, diversity, and majesty of our planet. They also serve as a powerful reminder of how important it is to preserve this pristine environment.

sliderimage-Metate Arch, UT - 2015, 50 x 40cm, (gerahmt 80 x 60cm)
Metate Arch, UT - 2015, 50 x 40cm, (gerahmt 80 x 60cm)

In contrast, Van Keuren’s experimental works invite the audience into a world of pure fantasy. These pieces are a bold departure from the conventional, combining elements of reality with unexpected features. In this way, the artist creates surreal, dream-like scenes that challenge our perception of the natural world. Using new photographic techniques and digital transformation, he constructs landscapes that are at once familiar and completely alien. His creativity reshapes the laws of nature.

Van Keuren not only works with traditional photography: in addition to drawings and prints, his oeuvre also includes sculptural 3D objects, one of which is presented here in the exhibition. It resembles the surreal shapes we see in the photographs. The artist also creates films such as dos desiertos – a visual journey through the Four Corners desert in the southwest of the USA and the Atacama in Chile and Bolivia, some of which are filmed from the air using a drone.

“Edge of the Worlds” is more than just an exhibition. It is an invitation to an immersive journey that tests the boundaries between the known and the unknown, the real and the imaginary. It encourages the viewer to question the limits of what is possible in the field of photography and art. In this sense, it encourages a deeper appreciation of both the world around us and the potential of human creativity.

sliderimage-Metamorphoses #13, 140 x 105 cm
Metamorphoses #13, 140 x 105 cm
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