For Clive van den Berg, land becomes more than a literal landscape. With its deep hidden forces, the land is given an almost spiritual undertow: “What I am concerned with… is the geography of memory and the spirit.”
The history of this land is full of conflict, in which human beings have been hurt or deprived of their place and their futures.
This history becomes invisible, as nature and cities and new lives grow over and cover these hurts, and traces of what has happened become buried and concealed. Clive van den Berg’s images metaphorically mine and excavate these buried stories – stories of pain that our landscape has hidden, but which still push up and emerge into our consciousness. He talks of signs and traces as being like scars in the land itself: literal signs, or symbolic ones.
The painting on the left is about delving deep, literally and metaphorically: it seems to be about an archaeology of loss.
Talk About This
There are many reasons we delve into the earth, besides to grow things and to nourish ourselves: we dig down to mine the riches of the earth; to seek evidence of our past, as archaeologists do; to dig graves; to bury secrets….
In these images, what is the artist saying about excavating beneath the surface of the earth, do you think?
Look at the works more closely. What images do you find half-concealed in them? What do these signify? What
other meanings in these works begin to surface, for you,
as you look?