Deltiologies is a series of handmade topographic collages, created as a photographic inquiry into the end of landscape as a stable visual field. The collages are created from prints of scanned photocrom postcards. The original postcards circulated widely at the turn of the twentieth century, as part of the first wave of mass production and replication of photographs. They opened up views of Alpine Europe to a new consumer market around the world.
These early photographic views inherited from landscape painting a singular model of vision, based on the supremacy of the fixed central viewer standing on solid ground. This tradition of perspective, once central to our understanding of images, is slowly being undone by new visual technologies. Established ways of perceiving space are being disturbed; they are fragmenting and multiplying. Assumptions about landscape as an ordered, unfolding field of vision are giving way to new formations and possibilities.
In Deltiologies, the views have been categorized, cut and re-assembled by the artist to form new geometric topographies. The ground is diminished, while established viewing positions and outcomes are disrupted. Landscape is reconfigured between then and now, between partiality and excess, creating new unfamiliar abstractions. The centre, once the stable ground, appears empty, as a void. Deltiologies gestures towards the end of an era of the fixed photographic horizon. Taking up ideas from the philosopher Didier Maleuvre, it plays with the notion of horizon as a temporary artifice, as a consequence of a misalignment between the mind and the world.
The postcards were purchased online by the artist as digital files, separated from any original print or author. The works have been hand-made from printed c-types. They are framed in white, 55cm x 55cm.
Liz Orton is a visual artist whose practice is broadly concerned with entanglements of land, vision and natural science. She engages widely with archives, both real and imagined, to explore the tensions between personal and systematic forms of knowledge. Orton currently holds a Fellowship at the University of Arts London, and has recently been awarded a Wellcome Trust Arts Award for a project on social and cultural aspects of medical imaging. She has exhibited widely in group shows both in the UK and internationally, and her recent body of work, A Handful of Soil for the Whole Horizon, won the MACK photography prize, and was exhibited at the Photographers’ Gallery as part of FreshFaced+WildEyed 2015.