Robert Knoth & Antoinette De Jong
Tree and Soil
In the garage of KUNST HAUS WIEN, the Dutch artist duo Robert Knoth & Antoinette De Jong are showing their new two-channel video installation Tree and Soil together with photographic works from the series of the same name. These were created against the background of the catastrophe in Fukushima 10 years ago. As a result of a tsunami triggered by an earthquake, considerable amounts of radioactive substances were released from the damaged nuclear power plant. Since then, the area has been radioactively contaminated and the long-term consequences for humans and nature cannot be foreseen.
"With Tree and Soil, we highlight the natural beauty and value of nature. By linking the past and the present, we explore the relationship that people have with their natural environment. After the radical transformation of the abandoned landscapes around Fukushima, we often felt like archaeologists of the future, trying to understand what had happened in a distant past."
The artists were inspired by the Japanese landscape concept Fukei, which combines the characters for wind and light, two elements that change in a continuous play of light and dark. Panoramic images show the evacuated villages, fields, agricultural land and the surrounding nature with forests and mountains. Audio recordings create a soundscape: birds singing in the fields and trees; water flowing downhill in small streams; drops of water rolling off the leaves in slow motion, awakening crickets and other buzzing insects. Long video recordings reproduce the process of slow change by means of tiny changes in the landscapes.
Antoinette de Jong (born 1964) and Robert Knoth (born 1963) are a Dutch artist duo. Using the media of film, photography and installations, they address complex social, economic and political issues. Their works are exhibited worldwide, most recently at the Photo Festival in Lianzhou, China or at the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Krakow, Poland. De Jong and Knoth's works have won several awards. In 2018, they were nominated for the Prix Europa and the Prix Ars Electronica, among others. Their 2020 publication Tree and Soil was shortlisted for the Les Rencontres d'Arles Book Award 2020. De Jong and Knoth live and work in Amsterdam.
Guest curator: Iris Sikking