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Return to: Mark Brest van Kempen

Artist Statement


My current interests lie in exploring the range of issues and emotions that are embodied in our complex relationship to the landscape. I am also very interested in working in the public and creating interventions in the existing fabric of our social environments. I have created several public artworks that reinterpret and question the understanding of specific places, and challenge the often invisible hierarchy embedded in them. The Free Speech Monument at UC Berkeley, Graffiti Billboard in San Francisco, and Land exchange in China are a few such projects.

Also I have used my life itself as an opportunity for aesthetic research in some unusual situations. Over ten years ago I collaborated with five other people (some artists, some not) in a project where we traded lives with each other for an extended period, living in each other's homes, wearing each other's clothes, taking on each other's job, and doing what each other would normally do on a given day (I had to learn to smoke among other things). More recently in 1998 I completed a project where I lived entirely off the land for thirty days alone in a wilderness area (I was struck by lightning among other things).

As diverse as these experiences are, they are integral to, and integrated by, the conceptual framework of my practice.

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