A Landscape for Whom?

A performance of Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata K162 by Duanduan Hao


A Brief Statement on a Landscape for Whom?
The title for the painting A Landscape for Whom? is actually a quote from the Farewell Lecture given by Yifu Tuan, a geographer and philosopher whose life’s work is exploring questions about place and space.

…my problem is with realities organized by the human mind such as landscape. Even then I don’t feel perplexed when, from the top of a hill, I gaze at the scene before me. My difficulties arise when I am asked to look at landscapes of the pre-human past. These difficulties first appeared when, as a child, I walked down the corridor of a natural history museum and paused at a diorama that showed dinosaurs sunning themselves by the sea. One lifted up its leg and was about to step into the water. I assumed that museum scientists made sure that all the details were correct and that, to enhance the realism, they added color—white sand, blue sea, and a brilliant sunset. Suddenly, I found myself asking, “A landscape for whom?”

As I was reading the lecture, I was thinking about my artworks, many of which incorporate in some way the colors of specific landscapes. It was a good question to ask – What is the relationship between landscape an music? The sonata takes on the colors a plein air landscape which I drew near my home in Boone County, Missouri.