About Creating Wilderness

Dutch Igloo reconstructs miniature landscapes in their studio to create hyper realistic worlds.
At first glance their landscapes reflect the majestic beauty of nature. They represent fictional, paradisiacal locations.  They seem far-away and surreal places that are difficult to identify.  This wilderness symbolises purity and the essence of life, but also the unknown, darkness, cruelty, and fear.
With “Creating Wilderness” we visualise hyper realistic worlds that offer a passage into a new way understanding our place in the world.   It is a space in which one wanders and wonders. It is obvious that this passage won’t be without struggle, but starting over from scratch becomes a realistic option.
Perhaps our images of wilderness are a new definition of “the paradise.” A wilderness that we all once originally came from. And a place where we are still longing for.  A place that is not made by man and which stands for the unaffected part of reality. And perhaps therefore contains an intrinsic truth. Or at least the believe that such a thing exists.
For a long time in Europe it was assumed that Western artists were more modern (or higher on the hierarchical ladder of divinely inspired art) than artists from the rest of the world and therefor were influencers and inspiring to the rest of the world. In today's discourse it is no longer customary to take this arrogant position, and we assume that mutual exchanges take place.
Many photos of this series are inspired by Chinese landscape painting. Since the fourth century, this has been one of the highest artistic expressions in Chinese art. Landscape painting did not attempt to make an exact representation of a topographical location, but rather to capture an emotion or an atmosphere in which the rhythm of nature was expressed.
With our series of Creating Wilderness we attempt to capture the general, omnipresent essence of nature, of our cosmos. The purpose of the Chinese Landscape painting is to expand a persons narrow view of the world and our cosmos. The paintings challenge and provoke a persons thinking process. Most of the time, the landscape is empty, there are no people, or even traces of people. They are inviting, you can travel through the landscape, there are ways to go everywhere and beyond. In contrast with European landscape portraits there is no focal point.  There is no horizon, or visible plan. Therefor you can find your own destination. These landscapes are portals to a new beginnings.
In our Western cultural vision, we interpret nature often as creation of our creator, or God. In contrast to Western landscape art, Chinese landscape painting is not a direct representation of reality, nor a depiction of the great art of creation of God.
In our series Creating Wilderness there are clouds and water that flow into each other. The wilderness is like an openness to experience. Inspired by Taoism it is spontaneous, without will, without striving. The wilderness is empty without being empty. And full without being full. There is room for a new beginning. For the landscape itself and for the viewer of the landscape.
When we started working on Creating Wilderness, we had just returned from a trip to Canada. During that visit there had been so many forest fires (most likely due to climate change) that half of Canada had been covered in smoke for the whole summer. Nature was stifling. Human impact on nature gets bigger and bigger, not only that, but our whole thinking about nature has changed. There seems to be no nature when we do not determine what nature should be.
Our culture want to understand nature in a mathematical and scientific way. That model also complies our whole reality. It not only determines how we humans experience reality, but also determines how we deal with it, and therefore also how we manipulate reality.
We landscape our worlds to create a new harmony with elements plucked from nature and digital technological elements.The technology augments our dioramas for the better. It makes it possible to enlarge the small physical worlds but at the same time we keep the complexity and beauty of nature that cannot be captured in a mathematical model. And this complexity of nature, gives us the freedom to explore new worlds.
After all of these transformations, a new reality is created. One with an original referent, not a copy with no absolute source. A mixture of new possibilities.