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Conor Clarke


The industrial structures used to characterise my earlier picturesque compositions have here become the sole subject; a series of isolated encounters between the bi- product of industry and nature, between steam and cloud, land and sky. A sort of post-industrial spectacle.
Taking on the role of eighteenth century picturesque enthusiast, I sought to collect these encounters. I planned my journey in advance, seeking out specific destinations around Germany in pursuit of scenes I expected to see, but aimed to fix for myself in picturesque light.
To experience the power of an active cooling or quench tower, to feel the steam rushing towards the sky, and the water crashing at its base; the sensation is immense and overwhelming.
It is delightful, it’s threatening It is powerful, it’s dangerous It is deliciously scary, it’s destructive It is horribly pleasing.
The mixed emotional result is confusing, oscillating between attraction and repulsion, are they beautiful or ugly, are they familiar or strange?
The rational mind says I should feel bad or guilty for finding beauty in these monstrous objects, so associated with global warming, they have come to represent a threat. But this landscape exists in the real world, here is analogue proof. From a position of safety one can enjoy my pictures, as objects of beauty, as pictorial trophies, as evidence of my pursuit through the industrial west. But pleasure has a sharp realisation when we recall that uncomfortable feeling of foreboding.

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