Art in the Landscape Series: Andrew Rogers
In my last post on land art back in December, I highlighted some of the early precedents to contemporary land art; now (finally), I’d like to move into briefly showcasing individual land artists now working. First on my list is Andrew Rogers, an Australian sculptor and land artist whose recent work in Turkey was profiled in the January 2012 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.
Andrew Rogers is best known for his 48 massive stone sculptures (geoglyphs) that he and local workers have constructed in 13 countries over the last 13 years. Ranging in elevation from below sea level to over 14,000 feet, in environments as diverse as glaciers, gorges, deserts and mountains, these works use local rock and earth to highlight the character of each location’s geography and geology.
His “Rhythms of Life” project, which he started in 1998, is said to be the largest contemporary land art project in the world. Highlighting locally symbolic references, these works are often best viewed from the air (think the Nazca Lines, a clear influence). According to Hannes Sigurdsson, Director of the Akureyri Art Museum in Iceland, “The Rhythms of Life sculptures are optimistic metaphors for the eternal cycle of life and regeneration, expressive and suggestive of human striving and introspection. The geoglyphs embrace a wide cultural vision that links memory and various symbols derived from ancient rock carvings, paintings and legends in each region; they punctuate time and extend history into the distant future while delving into the depths of our heritage in pursuit of the spiritual.” Interviewed in the Christian Science Monitor (May 12, 2009), Rogers states that he wants “these to become a fulcrum for contemplation about what’s important,” specifying “the values we need to take forward to have a wholesome society.”
Rogers differs from earlier land artists in that he eschews an individual, solitary approach to designing and creating his land art. He emphasizes collaboration, involving crews of hundreds of local workers (approximately 6,700 workers have participated in building his projects to date). Consulting with local leaders and tribal elders to select the symbols on which he bases his works, which are based on local tradition and mythology, Rogers hopes participants “will come to have an extra feeling of pride in their history and heritage.” His geoglyphs are highly sought after across the globe, in part due to his commitment to providing benefits to the workers on whom he relies to help him realize his creations.
As Rogers says in the Christian Science Monitor interview, his works are “about life and regeneration, memory, history, and heritage.”
Image credit: all images Andrew Rogers