exhibition view • Landscapes of Progress, Hestercombe Gallery, Taunton, Somerset (GB), 2023 - 2024

exhibition view • Landscapes of Progress, Hestercombe Gallery, Taunton, Somerset (GB), 2023 - 2024

exhibition view • Landscapes of Progress, Hestercombe Gallery, Taunton, Somerset (GB), 2023 - 2024

Landscapes of Progress? What is progress? How do we relate to landscape? This exhibition brings together six artists: Rebecca Chesney, Simon Hitchens, Marie-Louise Jones, Hugo Lami, Madinah Farhannah Thompson and Mirte van Duppen; all of whom make work inspired by these questions. Whether attempting to understand and present individual views of the world around us, exploring history, change or using innovation and environmental ways to create art.

Five of the artists know Hestercombe, its buildings, collections and gardens, well. Four have previously been resident artists, absorbing themselves in the day-to-day routines of flora, fauna and human co-existence during the past three years, with the fifth returning to work made on-site eight years ago. The sixth artist presents an alternative hi-tech view of land usage from across the sea in The Netherlands. All six artists make works in and of the landscape using various techniques and devices.

English | Dutch, 176 pages, 17 x 24 cm
AgriValley is a long-term poetic study of Dutch agriculture. In her cinematographic representations, video artist Mirte van Duppen brings together various production landscapes as a social construct: here, humans and machines live and work side by side. The futuristic, almost dreamlike images give an insight into the enormous impact of technological innovation in the Dutch agricultural sector.

Van Duppen shows the contemporary landscape in associative analyses, using visual rhyme and essayistic camerawork. With contributions by Bernke Klein Zandvoort (poet and essayist), Joost Oomen (poet and writer), Hein van Duppen (spatial designer and visual artist), Willem Claassen (writer and journalist) and Corinne Heyrman (theatre maker), and a conversation with Floris Alkemade (architect and former Chief Government Architect).

Around its own axis
Video work
16:9 full HD, 50p, 11:15 min
Around its own axis showcases the infinite, repetitive rhythm of the automated Dutch agricultural landscape. In this video work, machines perform a dance, while the camera transports the viewer through landscapes of large displacements. Silent, monumental images evoking tranquillity are continually interspersed with more dynamic actions. Using the jargon of her profession, choreographer Pauline Roelants guides the viewer through the scenes — like a sports commentator — providing a blow-by-blow description of the movements of the machines and products. In doing so, the stillnesses and the silences of the landscapes, along with the impulsive actions and errors of the machine become an integral part of the choreography. Examining and describing the landscapes this way minimises the distance between creative man and pragmatic machine. Roelants’ movement analysis also reveals a minor dissonance: not every industrial act is perfect. A realisation both comforting and slightly comical. By approaching the movements of the machines and products like a dance, van Dupen reveals the poetry of a previously unnoticed landscape.

Cinematographer and film editor
Mirte van Duppen
Comments by choreographer
Pauline Roelants
Benedikt Wöppel
Color grading
André Badjebeir
Paulien Mandos
Edit coach
Gabrielle Provaas

Dancers breeder, Florensis, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht en Dinteloord - orchids grower, Opti-flor, Monster - goat farmer, van Tilburg, Oude Dongen - tulip grower, Bloem-kwekerij Michiel Smit, Hensbroek - cow farmer, Christian en Sanne Klein Koerkamp, Lettele - plant grower, Pligt Professionals, ’s-Gravenzande

Hestercombe Gallery
Hestercombe House & Gardens
Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset TA2 8LG (GB)

11.11.2023 – 03.03.2024
11:00 am – 04:00 pm
Cost: Standard garden admission

AgriValley is made possible by
Creative Industries Fund NL, Impulsgelden Provincie Noord-Brabant, Kunstloc and Tilburg Makersfonds