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Across photography, installation, and social sculpture, Mathias Kessler probes the contemporary imagination, employing a visual language that borrows from the Romantic landscape genre and expedition photography, using empirical reason and the “sublime” as foils for an investigation that goes beyond the mere “natural” surface to explore the more complicated political and economic forces that have drastically altered the social and natural landscape. His visually arresting images and participative frameworks are sites for confrontation with and reflection on contemporary anxieties about the environment and globalization; digitization and artificial realities; post-industrial decay and natural disasters. Kessler’s publication NOWHERE TO BE FOUND features extensive documentation and an in-depth look at a selection of his most important works. It also includes essays that focus on his investigations into the historical and contemporary implications of the persisting Western-Eurocentric fantasy of the natural world: an obsession with nature as both a terrifying unknown and an exploitable resource. Kessler pulls apart the complex movement of man and nature across this nexus of natura naturans (self-creating nature) on one hand, and natura naturata (creatd nature) on the other, rejecting a merely environmentalist stance.

NOWHERE TO BE FOUND is published in conjunction with Kessler’s solo exhibition Here and Now at Kunsthal Rotterdam.

Mathias Kessler
Design by Sylvia Gruber
Published by Hatje Cantz
Published by Hatje Cantz