artist / participant
Nick Brandt. Inherit the Dust
The Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow presents ‘Inherit the Dust’, a new project by the celebrated British photographer Nick Brandt.
Nick Brandt was born and raised in London. After studying painting and cinematography at St. Martin’s School of Art he made a successful career as a director of music videos. In the early 90s he moved to the USA, where he worked with Michael Jackson and Moby. Nick Brandt first visited Tanzania in 1995, while filming a clip for Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’, which is dedicated to protection of the environment. That trip radically changed Brandt’s life: he fell in love with the natural world of Africa and decided to devote himself to photography.
‘Few photographers have ever considered the photography of wild animals as an art form,’ explains Nick Brandt. ‘The emphasis has generally been on capturing the drama of wild animals in action, on capturing that dramatic single moment, as opposed to simply animals in the state of being... My aim is for the images to go beyond the animal documentary genre and reach the arena of fine art photography. To achieve this I eschew action shots and, most importantly, the use of a telephoto lens. Instead I move in close, often taking photos from a few feet away.’
The first series of photographs created by Nick Brandt in East Africa in 2000 attracted public attention to his work and to the important issues he raises. Solo exhibitions of Brandt’s images in London, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne and San Francisco from 2004 to 2006 have been highly acclaimed.
Brandt first conceived the project ‘Inherit the Dust’ in 2014. Previously unpublished portraits of wild animals were printed in large format, pasted on panels and installed in locations where these animals once roamed but have now been wiped out due to human greed and indifference. Nick Brandt then photographed the panels, combining urban landscapes and animal images in a single frame.
The exhibition is comprised of 19 photographs with titles that provoke a sense of dissonance in the viewer: ‘Wasteland with cheetahs and children’, ‘Factory with chimpanzee’, ‘Construction site with rhinos’, ‘Quarry with elephant’, ‘Road to factory with zebra’, ‘Railway line with lioness’, and so on.
These animal pictures reminiscent of classic portrait paintings have been inserted in the threatening landscapes of urban outskirts and industrial zones, underscoring the extraordinary fragility of a world that is slowly but inexorably vanishing under the influence of man.
‘In nearly all the final photographs the panels with animal images are practically invisible to the people who walk around them. The animals have become the ghosts of these shattered landscapes,’ says Nick Brandt. ‘It may be a cliché, but we urgently need to do something. If we continue to do nothing, future generations will be inheriting the sad remnants of a once-vibrant living planet. They will be inheriting dust.’