Internet Mountains

Clive Holden


The ephemeral image and the timelessness of clay.

The first photograph of a mountain was a dramatic, physical transformation of our ultimate symbol of permanence—and a precursor to today’s world of weightless images.

This dichotomy seems so 21st century. The digital image we’re looking at, that registers as “mountain,” has in fact been dissolved into math and reconstituted into a digital image. It doesn’t even have the mass of photographic paper, yet we see mountain.

These monumental images, found in the internet in the form of data, still retain their origins’ archetypal force. The digital surrounds us in a landscape composed of thought-realm of the dynamic image, Internet art, and the perpetual re-invention of forms. Yet we continue to live on terra firma: we walk up actual mountains; we eat and drink from objects made of clay.

The resulting tension is both contemporary and ancient; we’ve always existed in the charged space between tangible and imagined worlds.

Holden’s works from the digital era are juxtaposed with clay objects from the Gardiner Museum’s collection, selected by the artist to highlight their shared nature as dissolved and transformed landscapes.