Prespa-Ohrid 1848: A drifting walk of Edward Lear

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Prespes, Greece

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Artists and academics were invited to participate with an audio paper (a performative or walking audio essay) or an audio walk for the walking arts encounters/conference Drifting Bodies – Fluid Spaces / Made of Walking (VII).

Images can trigger memories. They can be a form of communication and revelation. They can be physical images as well as those existing in an artist’s imagination. An image can be a special tool for studying the evolution of culture. In the beginning of 19th century, during the growth of the Romantic movement, landscape became an autonomous form of art expression. English painter and novelist Edward Lear condemned the antiquated view of his own peers by expressing a strong interest in wild, natural landscapes. In his distinctive way, Lear depicted the scenes he encountered as well as the intense emotions he experienced during his trip from Thessaloniki to Ohrid, in the period of the Ottoman rule, in September 1848. This journey was partially a walking exploration of the landscape and the urban environment of the cities he encountered. In 19th century, he was the only Englishman who investigated and created a large collection of paintings, drawings and sketches of the landscapes of the wider area around the Prespa basin. He walked in those “primitive” places, at different hours of the day and sketched the form of the mountains and the streetscapes of the cities he reached. In his own way he used the practice of “walking art”, in a primitive way, to share his knowledge of the topography of this region.

This audio paper presents Edward Lear’s travelogue and descriptive works in the wider area of ​​the Prespa basin, as inspiration for aesthetic and historical knowledge; while simultaneously, creating “quick narrative sketches”, which is an experiential landscape practice.

Full text:

Aspasia Voudouri

Aspasia Voudouri

Aspasia Voudouri, is a Graphic Designer and researcher living in Greece and holds a Post Graduate Degree on «Graphic Arts and Multimedia» by the Hellenic Open University. She is currently writing her Ph.D. research on walking as an art form, at the Unive...

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