Recently returned from residencies and exhibitions in Taiwan and China, Sydney artist Peter Nelson has compiled a three-volume set of limited edition artist books which will be officially launched at Gallery 9 on Saturday 7 December 2013. To celebrate the book launch, a selection of the book pages’ proofs will also be on display throughout December 2013 and the artist books will be available to purchase from the Gallery during this time.
The books themselves, on topics including: The Picturesque, Chinese Painting and Urbanism, are composed of reproductions of pages taken from Nelson’s notebooks spanning over the past four years. After the original pages were sorted and categorised into the three subjects, they were edited down as separate essays which demonstrate ongoing investigations into decoding the landscape, a common theme in Nelson’s recent practice.
The Picturesque envisages gardeners, landscape painting, and the ideal of The Traveller who lies and steals. It explores the influence of 18th century English aesthetics on landscape painting, property laws, and later tourist photography. In Chinese Painting Nelson poses an esoteric yet rational question: Is Minecraft (the consol/computer game) fundamentally any different to Chinese Scholar Painting? Looking back on the last Imperial Chinese (Qing) Dynasty, Nelson considers whether the Qianlong Emperor, who in his long travels, might never have looked out of his carriage window, and whose scroll painter may have painted a perfectly calculated political landscape in order to keep his own head? This is of course, one interpretation. And lastly, Urbanism, illustrates the invented utopian scheme that it is. The cycle of construction and the hubris of monuments in which the Scared Man builds everything twice and the Surveyor maps charts of sand dunes.
An exemplary multidisciplinary artist, Nelson works across drawing, painting, sculpture, video animation and prose, and often exhibits a variety of complementary media in each others’ contexts. Similarly, the content of these artist books are personal and political documents which decode the landscape and seek to deliver contexts of the world which surrounds us. The artist books were made during Nelson’s recent artist residency in Chongqing, China.
Peter Nelson is a graduate of the College of Fine Arts, UNSW with a BFA (Hons. Class 1) and MFA, and is also a former recipient of The University Medal. Since art school, he has undertaken residencies in Sydney, Paris, Taipei, Beijing and Chongqing. He has contributed work to many curated and group exhibitions and had solo shows in commercial, regional and artist run galleries across Sydney as well as in Taiwan and China.