jennifer bolande blends billboards with mountains in the middle of the desert

jennifer bolande blends billboards with mountains in the middle of the desert


as part of desert X, an outdoor exhibition of art installations and site-specific works currently taking place across the coachella valley, jennifer bolande has installed a series of billboards that are camouflaged among the surrounding desert landscape. as cars drive along the gene autry trail in california, they encounter ‘visible distance’, a cinematic experience animated by a sequence of larger-than-life sized photographs of mountains placed on billboards. these images have been perfectly aligned to their background, so — when viewed from a unique position along the route — the rectangle of the billboard is reconnected to the environment that exists behind it.

jennifer bolande desert X
all photos by lance gerber / courtesy of the artist and desert X



in thinking about the installation for desert X, bolande was informed by the graphic language of billboard advertising, particularly ‘burma-shave’ motion-graphic ads. the name refers to a campaign by an american shaving cream company, whose sequential placement of highway roadside signs formed messages that could only be read from a moving car. bolande chose to turn the desert empire of roadside signs on its head, advertising the thing that is most often overlooked — the landscape. when viewing the billboard installation, audiences are prompted to contemplate their surroundings and consider the differences between real and artificial horizons.

jennifer bolande desert X

jennifer bolande desert X

jennifer bolande desert X


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