indoor landscapes : Police Station: Dillenburg, Germany

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Re-Using Nature

I use my photographs to make experiential three-dimensional objects which, when combined and multiplied evoke natural landscapes (image-spaces). These objects are made of photographs taken in a miniature artificial landscape staged in my studio. While at first they appear as real images of nature--lush and inviting--it soon becomes clear that they are merely approximations of nature, unmistakably artificial, transformed by our imagination.
My landscapes exist indoors. They rely on romantic visions of nature for re-use in a contemporary context, creating a surrogate version of the natural landscape for the city-dweller. A surrogate natural environment with a twist: although suggestive of a park, garden, or pool, my interventions are meant to evoke new worlds, unique realms where the real, the artificial and the imagined combine to form something else. A number of installations I’ve completed use photography to transform existing architecture into sculpture that the viewer is invited to move around, between and through: my installation at Expo 2000 transformed a double-height restaurant into an underwater environment, with accompanying sound-track. Other installations have proposed a series of water interventions where building party-walls became aquariums and levitating pools transformed empty lots--water confined by but simultaneously redefining its urban setting. More recently, I've been designing installations that insert artificial gardens into the city, which is what I’d like to propose here.
The project begins with the abstracted image of a tree: a floor-to-ceiling forest for an indoor space, made of freestanding lightweight columns laminated with photos of toy trees which have been enlarged to approximate actual tree-size. The base of the column interior contains a removable concrete weight to stabilize each column and ensure that the installation leaves no mark on its surroundings. Multiples of these three-dimensional photo-sculptures combine to form an abstract public forest within the City of New York. I imagine them clustered randomly in the lobby of a public building, like the underground concourse at Grand Central Station: a place of departure where imagination and memory grip the viewer and the city is left behind.
Susa Templin