Christopher Down
Visions from Arcadia

Edition of 25 + 3 AP

Central to 'Visions from Arcadia' is a sense of the pastoral English landscape as a fictional refuge – a lost utopia. As such, this construct appears to enable individual soldiers to step outside of their engagement with contemporary conflict and its subsequent potential for traumatic consequence. Here they are free to surrender to contemplation, to exist without motion or resistance, to be rendered inert. Extracted from any obvious reference to confrontation these men are pictured here alone, enveloped by the natural world as they are gradually immersed within a vision inspired by Virgil’s Arcadia. In this environment the premise, man is not apart from nature but a part of nature, is reinforced, as they attempt to merge with their surroundings, simulating them through the camouflage applied to their skin and clothing.

Yet despite the perceived tranquility there is a feeling of unease, for there remains indelibly ingrained in the fabric of this landscape, echoes from the histories of war. It is as though the land itself is unwittingly offering forth traces of reference and suggestion from an archive of confrontation.

Contemplating the paradox of man’s attempt to create peace through a process of conflict, 'Visions from Arcadia' reflects on the cyclical nature of war and considers the notion that despite our awareness of an alternative, that peace begets peace, mankind seems bound by a chain of conflict that cannot be broken.

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