Life@Death 2023 


Landscape – Mapping the Spirit 


Landscapes are maps. Maps are tools we construct to help us navigate the world we live in. So landscape art might simply be a type of map that describes locations. But they could also be maps of the mind. Maps of belonging, of ownership or exclusion. They might be maps of this world that point to another world of the spirit. 


In this sense landscapes are constructions, full of choices, deliberate seeing or not seeing, all of which point to more than what is simply there. They might describe other worlds altogether. In other words we may think that landscape art simply describes or explains what is there for everyone to see. But they can also tell us more. 


These ‘maps’, to be useful, must take into account both life and death, safety and danger, fullness and emptiness, gains and losses, growth and decay, the terribly mundane and existence of mysterious wonders. At their best they will point to the resources of life and try to make sense of the presence and mystery of death. 


Of course not all maps are easily read. They use symbols and signs, often very personal or quite culturally encoded. Their ‘language’ is sometimes understood and sometimes hidden, maybe deliberately so. To read them we may need to be initiated into their language of sign and symbol. 


Then we might be able to truly see them, read them and understand the artist’s intent and goal. 


Life@Death 2023 invites artists of all persuasions to submit work that reflects on the theme “Landscape – Mapping the Spirit”. It can be work already completed or new work, one piece or multiple. We ask that along with the work you write your thoughts, maybe telling us of your personal ‘sign-language’, that will help us read and appreciate your work. 


This year we have invited Darren Siewes, an indigenous artist from Arnhem Land based in Adelaide. Darren’s work has explored our South Australian landscape asking questions around aboriginal identity. His recent work, which he describes as ‘hypothetical realism’ is digitally based and explores questions around colonialism, or as Darren prefers, the “coloniality of power”.  We look forward to seeing Darren’s work and discussing his art practice and ideas. 


All good things come to an end. Life@Death has run for 10 years and 2023 will be our last in the series. As the instigator of the Life@Death project, I would like to put some time into collating and documenting our 10 year project. This relies of course on a number of factors coming together – time, resources, funding, and information. If you would like to be part of this or can offer skills or even information from our previous projects, please contact Dieter or Gallery One. Otherwise I thank all those who have contributed over those years and look forward to our final Life@Death in 2023. 


Regards, Dieter Engler