In The Dutch Mountains, 2022

Generative Adversarial Network; oil and embroidery on canvas, stretched on wooden chassis.

Consumed by mass tourism every year, the Dutch flower fields are witnessed through eyes that seem to reduce the landscape to an idea that is associated with it. Seeking confirmation of that idea, rather than an authentic experience. Contrastingly, in our visual culture, we often view the oil painting as the purest form of authenticity: an original image containing the aura of the artist.

In The Dutch Mountains is a series of paintings that investigates the craftsmanship of painting as a form of mass production and the over-consumed, touristic landscape as an unexplored environment of which only one exists. Intrigued by this contrast, Couzijn wanted to create something that is both authentic as it is highly artificial. In order to do so, he trained artificial intelligence to generate a unique, one-of-a-kind interpretation of a flower field, based on a database of open source image libraries depicting existing flower fields. These interpretations were then translated into oil paintings by a craftsman who is specialised in the large-scale (re)production of images and master paintings.

In doing so, the project explores both the rich history of landscape painting, as well as the role the Dutch landscape has played in it. And so, not only does this series of paintings question the notion of authenticity, it simultaneously examines the potential of landscape painting in contemporary visual culture.

For inquiries: thomas@plus-one.be.

With many thanks to Boris Smeenk, Shui Yún Jian, Robin Koolwijk, Mondriaan Fund, Christian Herren, Lieneke Hulshof and Johann Horn.

12 small paintings: 20 x 30 x 3 cm
2 large paintings: 120 x 100 x 4 cm