Thursday, April 28, 2011


A copy of Lewis Baltz's new, reprinted edition of CANDLESTICK POINT arrived in my mail box today. A profound and compelling look at man in conflict with nature. Landscapes of destruction where there is no deliverance, where life no longer stirs. But wait, these photographs underline why we consider the human condition. Why we look, why we photograph. Thank you Lewis Baltz for that.

The New York curator Marvin Heiferman characterized Lewis Baltz’s landscape photography as a “topography of the emptiness of random, damaged, remote places”. The images in his 1989 series Candlestick Point show Californian fallow land, where piles of rubble and waste accumulate in the middle of the prairie. Traces of technical land development – drainage channels and water dams – are visible, becoming a typically American theme: the development of a territory in the almost infinite prairie. Baltz’s photographic record of the development at Candlestick Point combines sociological and analytical rigour and is strongly oriented towards the tradition of Land Art, and retrospectively pays tribute to its crucial influence on conceptual art since the 1970s.

Candlestick Point was first published in 1989 and has been unavailable for decades, other than as an expensive collectible on the secondary photobook market.  

CANDLESTICK POINT - Photographs by Lewis Baltz.
Steidl, 2011. 128 pp., 12 color and 72 tritine illustrations, 12½x9¾".

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