Ambient, Aberrant

Ambient, Aberrant (2020) is a work by Sonia Mangiapane.

Ambient, Aberrant intertwines Sonia Mangiapane's interests in optical phenomena, journey and the landscape. In this work she employs abstraction as a method to address the constructed nature of reality inherent in photomedia's apparatuses and processes, and our culturally constructed concepts of nature and truth. Through a combination of representational and abstract imagery, camera-based and cameraless production methods she seeks to expose the inauthenticity of the ‘nature’ we experience—particularly in Europe. The landscape in her work is a symbol of her idea of nature; yet it is a tamed, domesticated and manageable version of the real thing. There is no nature here. She uses the productive practice of photomedia (expanded photography) to mediate her own touristic experience of ‘nature’ in the same way that users of the Claude Mirror—a pre-photographic optical device used by painters and tourists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—mediated their experience of the landscape. The Claude Mirror was used to frame and simplify the visual qualities of the landscape; to depict nature as ‘picturesque’, unthreatening, and therefore removed from reality.

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