Arthur Laidlaw explores the hubris of Western viewers looking onto canonised landscapes. The experience of drawing and photographing ancient architecture in the Middle East, months before the Arab Spring, has profoundly shaped the way he sees the world.
Laidlaw aims to build a close relationship with his subject, developing his style and methodology accordingly. The tone and aesthetic of the work changes dramatically from place to place. Laidlaw responds to the landscape, culture, and history of each specific location. Even the weather, for example, drawing in situ in Berlin’s sub zero winter, dictates the feeling of each project.
This relationship develops when Laidlaw returns to the studio, where he deconstructs both the original medium of documentation and the subject itself. The result is complex, usually consisting of many material layers, assembled gradually. The works challenge viewer expectations and assumptions, destabilising established ‘ways of seeing’.