- The World, 2021
- Edition of: 20
- Size of image: 30,00 cm x 19,50 cm
- Size: 55,80 cm x 38,00 cm
- Production: Arno Hassler, Moutier
- CHF 600.00
In his work entitled The World, Douglas Mandry reflects on our management of natural resources and, more particularly, on the displacement of materials for the construction industry. To illustrate a global trend, Mandry chose the group of artificial islands called “The World” near the coast of Dubai, whose construction required an unimaginable amount of sand to be dredged and piled up. This extravagant project gathers 300 islands, whose shape and arrangement are meant to resemble a map of the world. Each island can be purchased by private individuals or companies. The motif of Mandry's work is a detail from a photograph used in the advertising campaign for the project launched in 2003, which the artist realized as a two-color heliogravure. The printmaking technique and the particular color scheme give the work a classic, old-fashioned feel. The print evokes early aerial views of unspoiled nature, whereas the reality is the complete opposite: man-made landscapes still waiting to be populated. The nostalgic aesthetic suggests the predictable abandonment of these islands, as if they were nothing more than pre-programmed ruins of an overambitious building boom.
Whether in the form of found footage or his own works, photography is the central medium in Douglas Mandry's oeuvre. It serves the artist as a basis for addressing the influence of humans on the environment as well as the fragility of ecosystems. Mandry reflects on the absurdity of our interaction with nature in works such as the Monuments series (2020), in which he worked with black-and-white photographs of alpine expeditions from the 1930s. He printed the images as lithographs on modern geotextiles, which are laid on the glaciers during the summer to prevent them from melting. Other works in the Monuments series consist of photograms of glacier ice that Mandry brought back to his studio and placed directly on the light-sensitive photographic paper. Mandry's experimental approach to photography and classical printing techniques, as well as his use of unconventional image supports, allow him to consider landscape images from a new perspective and to question the concept of landscape itself. As in his work The World, the artist explores how the development of society and technology is changing our relationship with nature. VH