John Hilliard, Blue Glade (1969)

I saw this piece in the Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britian exhibiton in Cardiff Museum. They are 4 C-type colour photographs of outside areas at night time. In the photographs there are only selected foliage areas in light, maybe created just with a torch. I felt a sense of eeriness and mystery – why has Hilliard left areas in the dark? Why are the dark areas included in the composition? It’s as though he has purposely photographed the dark areas as to represent an unknown, or ‘uncommon ground’. It made me wonder what could potentially occupy these areas. It may be that there really is nothing there but I think Hilliard’s intentions were to make us wonder what could be within the darkness, which is something we would naturally ignore because it is not shown to us: we have to find for ourselves or even imagine.

In my own practice I think I can really appropriate this work. The unknown within our society and what is left in the dark by our own kind. The psychology behind how we live in the world in this day is that we are susceptible to accept what we are told and what we know rather than digging deeper and understanding the potentially brutal truth.


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