In another land where the breeze and the
Trees and flowers were blue
I stood and held your hand
And the grass grew high and the feathers floated by
– Bill Wyman –
Since the invention of photography westerners leave their native countries and
travel to Asia, South-America or Africa to find and document paradise. El Dorado,
Shangri-La or Atlantis are all mythical inventions to let one dream of faraway
places. Nowadays many people are trying to escape a stressful life and seek
transformation in self-organized colonies and are convinced that once can start a
new purer life away from (western) civilization.
Marcel van der Vlugt believes that one does not have to travel far to face
undisrupted nature beauty. ‘The most exotic locations are around the corner’ is a
phrase he refers to in this project, thus he has created his own utopia Anotherland.
Van der Vlugt challenges the definition of paradise, tribalism, and the authenticity
of its photographic records.
When travelling to remote places Van der Vlugt was often confronted with the
notion of being too late and living in the wrong decade. Pristine jungles, tribal
cultures, and nature’s virgin innocence have all been lost for the greater part, and
contemporary photographic records have often been constructed to imitate them.
The outcome of Van der Vlugt’s research is a new reality in a series of landscapes,
portraits and still lifes. All of the images of Anotherland are staged in Van der
Vlugt’s home in Amsterdam or in one of the city parks. For this project he uses
different locations that might be found near a children’s playground or a dubious
parking lot and found structures are the basis of this unfake world.
His characters’ appearances are invented and improvised with everyday objects,
residual materials or house plants but do not try to imitate a real tribe. A girl nextdoor
becomes the pristine beauty from ancient times. A prehistoric man wandering
alone in the forest is the photographer himself. He is looking for something we are
all longing for; the purity of beauty..