DOUGLAS MANDRY - ENGADINE
THEY KEEP ON CALLING
ST. MORITZ-BAD – FORUM PARACELSUS
5 – 26 FEBRUARY 2022
For this exhibition, swiss artist Douglas Mandry spent two years studying the Engadine as an iconic location. In seeking to capture the singular aura of the region, he used both historical material and his own work, incorporating elements of nature and scientific data into his artistic output. An astonishingly diverse series has emerged that shows an exciting blend of experimental approaches.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by naturalist John Muir’s (1838-1914) famous remark, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” Nowadays the quotation is often cited in referring to the distinctive appeal of the mountains. It is this universe and its iconography that Mandry illuminates from a variety of perspectives in his “Monuments” series. Mandry uses the traditional technique of lithography to print early 20th-century photographs of the Engadine glaciers on used glacier protection blankets. These already shows traces of wear after one summer on the ice. The pictures conjure the golden age of tourism and testify to technological efforts to preserve a landscape destined to become extinct in the foreseeable future.
Mandry’s series “Unseen Sights” foregrounds the tension between reality and idealized representation. Using collage and the paintbrush, he transforms his photographs of mountains and lakes in the Engadine into atmospheric visions. Light, colour and form: Mandry pulls all the registers in representing, enhancing and estranging the region’s visual features. He invokes and subverts our visual expectations that have been fueled by painting and photography.
Another highlight of the exhibition is the premier of a new series of sculptural works, titled “Gravity Flow”. In collaboration with the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, the artist measured the hollow cavities hidden under the ice. Using the data acquired with a 3D scanner, the artist transformed these cavities or moulins, as they are called, into massive glass objects – basically presenting an expanded interpretation of photography.
“The light in the Engadine: even when it’s foggy, rays of sun break through the clouds and illuminate parts of the landscape. The skies change from crystalline blue to pastel colours in the evening. These colours and the inimitable lighting were my source of inspiration.
The region has a powerful painterly quality. That’s another reason why I add painting to my photographs. I create an abstraction of the real landscape and intensify it with the feelings I had while looking at that same landscape.
My work combines imagination and reality, painting and photography, feelings and facts. It springs from my own perception, which ties in with the perception of each and every individual. All of us together produce a collective vision of the Engadine.”
More about the artist