Blackened (landscape in summer)/Copsa Mica, Romania
(Maastricht / Eiffelgebouw)
In their installation Blackened (Landscape in Summer) Dagmar Keller (1973, Germany) and Martin Wittwer (1969, Switzerland) show the ‘dark’ side of the present-day landscape. First we see a small painting by Anton Constantinescu dating from 1979 that the artists bought at a flea market in Budapest. The lovely landscape reminded them of a particular rural area in Romania. The romantic scene, popular in communist countries, failed to include the presence of heavy industry. Quite from the start the video hints at the fact that this work is not dealing with the romantic aspects of landscape. What dominates the scene is the massive cooling tower and the adjacent factory buildings and chimneys. The scene shows a painter at work. It is unusual to see a traditional landscape painter focus on a depressing industrial landscape; he seems to be depicting the contours of the factory buildings. It soon becomes clear that he is holding the same work by Constantinescu. In the video the existing scene is painted over with polluted dirt from the Romanian city of Copșa Mică, one of the most polluted cities in Europe. Its location is identical to that of the factory displayed in the video.