ARCHIVES OF PERCEPTION: THE LANDSCAPE IN THE PROCESSIONAL SCROLLS OF MILOS SEJN
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Between 1983 and 1989, Milos Sejn made a set of about 50 processional scrolls. On long roles of paper or textile, he made impressions of natural surfaces and reworked them with the help of found materials and pigments typical of a given locale. Traditionally, the scroll was considered a material remnant of an 'interaction with the landscape', a record of an event or of a private ritual/dialogue with nature, a typical form of conceptual art. One can, however, interpret them as images of a landscape. In his processional scrolls, Sejn demonstrates that a representation of a landscape that we have 'under us' - the face of the terrain, a representation that originates from touch - is just as legitimate as a classical painting of a landscape. He teaches our senses to perceive the landscape in sculptural terms, unlike the ordinary landscape painting, which offers a view of scenery. The surface of Sejn's scrolls is first and foremost an impression of the horizontal face of the earth, a place of fixation of the building features or natural components that constitute the landscape in question. In addition, it can also represent the position of the individual observer within its frame. The result is a depiction that does not have the illusive quality of mimetic landscape painting, but that, in its way, offers a more complex account of a given place. In his processional scrolls, and in other similar formats (books - folding picture books), Sejn completes the transformation of the way the painting surface depicts a landscape, begun by some of his great predecessors - for example, Daoji (1642-1708) and Caspar David Friedrich. This form of landscape is the result of a very subjective experience. For Sejn, however, the landscape never functions simply as a suitable platform for a metaphorical expression of a metaphysical or religious sentiment, or other intellectual content, as is the case with many modern painters. The essence of his version of 'Erlebniskunst' is the natural and complex act of perception, inextricably bound up with its object, the landscape. Sejn's processional scrolls, archives of moments of his perception of the landscape, thus constitute a metaphor for the process of perception and visual consciousness that offers a model of enactive vision.
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