The land art of Martin Hill

Martin Hill’s environmental art captures the beauty of nature to frame tiny abstract sculptures made of natural materials. There is a subtle and serene esthetic emanating from his art which underlines the contrast between nature shaped by Man and wild nature. His creations raise many questions regarding nature’s contribution in artistic creation. But most of all, in the eyes of the artist these creations imply a change in our habits towards the preservation of nature as well as they highlight the importance of ecology.

Kanuka Circle, branches de Kanuka, 1500mm de hauteur, 2011, Lake Wanaka, Nouvelle-Zélande*

Diamond Lake Leaf Circle, feuilles d’Hoheria, 1300mm diam., 2011, Diamond Lake, Wanaka, Nouvelle-Zélande
Alpine Ice Cycle, Glace, 500mm de hauteur, 2013, Albert Burn Saddle, Wanaka, Nouvelle- Zélande

Martin Hill was born in 1946 in London, where he studied art and design. He is a photographer, a sculptor and a land artist who also campaigns for ecology. His photographs of environmental sculptures have reached a broad international recognition. Since 1992 and in partnership with Philippa Jones, he has been creating eco-conscious land art settings that express the impact of Mankind on the environment. They accentuate the beauty that results from a respectful exploitation of nature and they make use of various natural materials to create those sculptures, of which, most of the time, only the pictures remain. In fact, the importance of this work resides in its artistic and ecologic philosophy and some sculptures are conceived only to be ephemeral, from ice, branches, leaves…

Ice Guardian, morceau de glace, figure humaine, 800mm de hauteur, 2012, Albert Burn Saddle, Mt Aspiring National Park, Nouvelle-Zélande

2000 Circles, neige percée, 1200mm diam., 1998, Mt Ruapehu, Nouvelle-Zélande

It’s merely the connection with nature that motivates the artist to relate the ongoing ecological transition. An adaptation that is mimicking the way nature works by heading towards a circular economy. In fact nature is essentially cyclic: food becomes waste and waste becomes food to something else. Martin Hill believes that the new circular economy and social systems are modelled on nature. In his eyes, the transition to a new kind of progress which does not destroy living things, demands a new way of thinking. He reckons art can help start off this change and encourage people to consider ecological problems as opportunities to innovate. That is the reason why the artist often uses circle patterns that refer to the cyclic system of nature as well as the industrial ecology model.

Interconnected, neige, 1500mm de hauteur, 2012, Albert Burn Saddle, Mt Aspiring National Park, Nouvelle-Zélande

Interwoven World, branches de Kanuka, 1500mm de hauteur, 2010, Lake Wanaka, Nouvelle-Zélande

We Walk on Water, brindilles de Raupo, cables de nylon, 2 m, 2013, Hawea River, Wanaka, Nouvelle-Zélande

Out of the Ashes, branches de kanuka brulées, 2500mm diam., 2008, coll. privée

Synergy, brindilles de Raupo, fil de nylon, 1300mm, 2010, Lake Wanaka, Nouvelle-Zélande

Interdependence, métal rouillé, 5 m. diam., 2010, coll. privée

Martin Hill’s photographs are soothing and everlasting, they convey contrasting messages, modern and committed at the same time. The New Zealander landscapes he stages, although uncommonly beautiful, appear to be deserted. However the human presence is suggested by his geometrical constructions. They give a mysterious and almost surreal aspect to these places, which appeals the mind to dream, in a world of both familiar and strange feelings. A temporal loop shaped world in which Man and nature would be united again. A Delicate Canvas, a documentary on his artistic practice has been realized in 2011. 

See the trailer: http://vimeo.com/42940525
Visit the website of Martin Hill: http://martin-hill.com/

(translated by Noé Jacomet)

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