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Engendering an avant-gardeThe unsettled lansdcapes of Vancouver photo-conceptualism$
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Leah Modigliani

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526101198

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526101198.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Establishing the theory and practice of a defeatured landscape

Establishing the theory and practice of a defeatured landscape

(p.114) 4 Establishing the theory and practice of a defeatured landscape
Engendering an avant-garde

Leah Modigliani

Manchester University Press

Chapter 4 recounts the emergence of the theory and practice of a “Defeatured Landscape,” the name given in 1970 to a new urban semiotic that would constitute photo-conceptual artists self-defined counter tradition to those cultural practices deemed uncritical, expressionist, and mythical that were explored in Chapter 3. NETCO’s Ruins (1968) and Portfolio of Piles (1968) are examined as important precursors to the defeatured landscape. Dennis Wheeler, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace and Christos Dikeakos’ art and writing are discussed as examples of defeatured landscapes in relation to their influences: American conceptual artist peers like Dan Graham; Concrete Poetry; awareness of the vehicular landscape; and Surrealism and its legacy in the psycho-geography and dérives of the Situationist International. This history is set against two contrasting examples: the real political conflicts of land development and associated financial speculation going on at the same time in the city; and an accounting of the erotic female bodies who often populate the otherwise defeatured landscapes of the photo-conceptualists. These examples show how the social politics of public space in Vancouver are left out of avant-garde representations of the city through the discursive framing of a landscape not so defeatured after-all.

Keywords:   Defeatured landscape, N.E. Thing Co, Ingrid Baxter, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, Christos Dikeakos, surrealism, Dan Graham, Situationist International, settler colonialism

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