A new exhibition "Ends of the Earth - Land Art to 1974" at Munich's Haus der Kunst explores the emergence of Land Art in the 1960s to 1974 when the movement diverged into other distinct genres. Pictured here is perhaps the most iconic work of Land Art: Robert Smithson's (1938-1973) "Spiral Jetty" (1970). It was built from mud, basalt rocks and salt crystals on Utah's Great Salt Lake.
"Ends of the Earth" presents artworks by lesser known proponents of Land Art from countries such as Brazil, Germany, Iceland, Israel and the Philippines, including Hreinn Fridfinnsson's "House Project." Fridfinnsson built an "inside-out" house in an uninhabited lava field near Reykjavik in 1974, decorating the exterior of the house with wallpaper and curtains for hikers to stumble across.
"La Région centrale" is an experimental film by the influential Canadian artist and filmmaker Michael Snow. The film captures the snow-capped Canadian mountains over a period of 24 hours using a pre-programmed camera attached to a robotic arm. Snow said that he aimed to show the types of images an alien probe would send home if it landed on Earth.
Many Land Art artists are fascinated by remote locations including mountain ranges and deserts. In 1971, the American sculptor Alice Aycock filled a minimalistic grid with wet clay to create "Clay #2." The work has been recreated specially for the exhibition at the Haus der Kunst where it will slowly dry and crack to resemble the ground in California's Death Valley.
American artist Patricia Johanson is best known for her large-scale Minimalist and Site-Specific Art. In 1968 she created "Stephen Long," a 1,600-foot long (448 meter) installation encompassing painted plywood segments laid along an abandoned railroad track in Buskirk, New York. The work was a homage to the 19th century railway engineer and is documented in the exhibition on DVD.
Born in 1939, American feminist, artist, author and educator Judy Chicago is best known for her iconic work "The Dinner Party" (1979). "Immolation IV" is taken from the series "Women and Smoke" (1972). The performance piece was recorded in the Californian desert and is an example of the ephemeral nature of Land Art. Works of the genre often only continue to exist in films and photographs.
Another work documented in photographs is Les Levine's "Systems Burnoff x Residual Software" (1969). A comment on media spectacles, the piece consists of 1,000 copies of 31 photographs taken by Levine at the landmark exhibition "Earth Works" (1969). Levine covered the floor with the photographs and poured Jell-O over them, then stuck chewing gum to photographs attached to the walls.
Including just under 200 artworks by more than 100 artists from around the world, the exhibition demonstrates that Land Art was not just a North American movement. Czech artist Zorka Ságlová (1943-2003) burned large gasoline torches for her art action "Homage to Gustav Obermann" in 1970. "Ends of the Earth" runs through January 20, 2013 in Munich.
"Ends of the Earth - Land Art to 1974" at the Haus der Kunst in Munich provides the most comprehensive historical overview of this art movement to date.