Huis Marseille: Artificial Landscapes

Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, present After Baldus: Travels in a Wounded Landscape, a photographic project from Theo Baart and Cary Markerink. Following their series Nagele and Snelweg, the artists turn their focus to the artificially created landscape of Northern France.  Taking their inspiration from Édouard Baldus’s 19th century album Le Chemin de Fer du Nord, the photographers document 150 years of man-made changes to the region as caused by war, industrialisation and globalisation. The series catalogues the influence these global forces have had on the environment.

The idea for the project came from an opportunity given to the Baart and Markerink to study the original photo album. Baldus’s renowned photographic series works to celebrate and demonstrate the technical prowess of the French industry, displaying the advancements not only of the railway and its adjacent infrastructure, but also to exhibit photography itself, a new invention at the time. For 50 of the images Baart and Markerink made prints for their own album, the large format and design similar to Baldus’ originals demonstrating the influence of the photographer- the exhibition allows visitors to physically leaf through the artist’s album

In After Baldus, the artists retrace the French photographer’s footsteps. Whereas the work does not aim to replicate the original pieces, the artists document man-made nature along the same track in 21st century in the same way. Baldus saw his society on the edge of industrialisation, the contemporary artists demonstrate the influence of not only urbanisation and globalisation, but also the physical effect of several wars.

After Baldus: Travels in a Wounded Landscape runs at Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, from 10 December until 5 March. For more information:

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1. Cary Markerink Boulogne-sur-Mer. Courtesy of Huis Marseille.