Corinne Silva

Discover: Corinne Silva

Born in Leeds, UK in 1976, Artist Corinne Silva lives and works in London and is currently studying for a doctorate at the University of the Arts London. Her work investigates the politics of frontier spaces, diaspora and mobility and landscape aesthetics. Using photography, and more recently moving image, she has explored these themes through architecture and topography, at the interface of the natural and man-made.

Recent exhibitions and commissions include Imported Landscapes, a site-specific installation for Manifesta 8, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art (2010); photographic series Badlands, Noorderlicht Photofestival (2010); moving image installation Wandering Abroad, from Leeds Art Gallery, UK (2009). Most recently, she has been Artist in Residence at the Israeli Center for Digital Arts. Corinne is one of the winners of the Magenta Awards 2010 and 2011.

New suburb of Tangier placed in former mining region La Unión, Murcia, from the Imported Landscapes series © Corinne Silva

Port Tanger Med placed in highway leading to retail park, Murcia, from the Imported Landscapes series © Corinne Silva

Resort town of Al Hoceima placed in former industrial zone, Cartagena, Murcia, from the Imported Landscapes series © Corinne Silva

Imported Landscapes

The plate of Africa is moving at a rate of 1cm per year against and underneath the Eurasian plate. In 10 – 15 million years, the Mediterranean Sea will no longer exist.

The landscapes of southern Spain and northern Morocco share many geographical features including climate, flora and fauna, as well as a history of trade, migration and invasion. In 711, Berber tribes straddled the Mediterranean Sea, at its narrowest point only 14 kilometres, to build a Muslim empire. The Muslims were eventually forced out in the 1400s and since then Spain has retained possession of Ceuta and Melilla. But connections continue; during the last century Spain further colonized northern Morocco. Today many Moroccans provide cheap labour for the agricultural industry in southern Spain, and those that are able invest money in property along the rapidly developing northern Moroccan coast.

To consider these connected and overlapping Mediterranean landscapes Silva travelled along the northern Moroccan coast from Tangier towards the Algerian border, and made a series of landscape photographs. She then created an intervention in the Spanish landscape by installing three of these images on 8 by 3 metre billboards in specific locations in the region of Murcia.

The billboards are a reminder that landscapes themselves are palimpsests. Each person’s actions directly affect another; these actions and power shifts can be traced in the landscape. The act of placing one landscape inside another – the southern hemisphere into the northern – creates a space to contemplate not only their shared topography but also the complex web of their ongoing connection of trade, mobility and colonisation.

Imported Landscapes will have its first UK showing at the Hereford Photography Festival, 28 October – 26 November

Accidental topography I, Oasys theme park, from the Badlands series © Corinne Silva

Plastic mountain II, plastic recycling plant, from the Badlands series © Corinne Silva

Temporary settlement IV, from the Badlands series © Corinne Silva


The desert border territory of Almeria in southeast Spain is being rapidly transformed by intensive agricultural development, golf courses and hotel complexes. Increasingly visible in this landscape is plastic, innovatively used and reused. In the wilderness beyond the enclosed architectural fortresses of industry and leisure lie the temporary settlements of African workers, made from salvaged plastic. I use plastic to examine the authentic and artificial in a landscape dramatically shaped by the connected forces of economic migration, agriculture and tourism.

Almeria is located on what architect Teddy Cruz defines as the ‘new political equator’, which intersects the contested desert territories of southern Spain and northern Africa, the Mexico USA borderlands and Israel-Palestine. These linked desert landscapes expose how societies of overproduction and excess in the global North attempt to barricade themselves from the sectors of scarcity in the global South – a result of the North’s economic and political indifference. Almeria serves as a prism through which to focus a visual exploration of the current globalised economy and politics of fear.

Temporary settlement II, from the Badlands series © Corinne Silva

Plastic mountain III, plastic recycling plant, from the Badlands series © Corinne Silva

Accidental topography V, abandoned quarry, from the Badlands series © Corinne Silva

To contact Corinne or to view more of her work, click here.

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