Artist Kelly Richardson has spent three years imagining a world at one remove from our own, working with digital imaging software to create a vision of the near future.
‘Pillars of Dawn’ is a series of prints and videos which imagine near desert landscapes in which environmental conditions have crystallised the terrain. In each of the scenarios we encounter, we see a beautiful, empty, crystallised world. It is almost as though all life-forms have been transformed into pure carbon - that is, into the most concentrated forms of pure carbon in the natural world - diamonds. The majesty and infinite wealth of the Earth is revealed, although no humans appear present to appreciate it.
‘Pillars of Dawn’ presents us with an oblique picture of what humans’ imagined monopoly rights over all territories and species leads towards. The exploitation of all natural resources, plant, animal, and mineral alike, above and below ground, will incur other kinds of debts to be repaid.
Using digital technologies, Kelly Richardson creates hyper-real, sublime, and spectacular landscapes that communicate underlying unsettling narratives. Her work asks us to consider what we truly value and where we might go from here.
“Sculpting’ every branch of each tree and populating the entire landscape with millions of individualised crystals has been a painstaking labour of love. Roughly speaking, there is one crystal in each of the landscapes for every species still alive today. We live in a time when many scientists believe humans are causing the mass extinction of thousands upon thousands of other species; Richardson’s work asks us what it is in the world that has value for humans.” — Alistair Robinson