United Kingdom

Corinne Silva



Residing in the UK, Corinne Silva’s (b. 1976) practice explores the use of the still and moving image in suggesting metaphysical space. Her quiet, meditative visual language engages with the potentials and restrictions of lens-based media and the evolving relationship between politics, landscape and art histories.

These themes are developed through video and photographic wall installations that explore the intersection between botanical and urban landscapes. Silva connects ideas of human mobility and porous frontiers to translate and re-construct material landscape, forming imaginary landscapes.

While her work emerges out of late twentieth-century critical and conceptual landscape practices, Silva subverts these visual languages by avoiding both the disinterested gaze and the ‘monumental’ landscape. Instead, fragmentation acts as her language to create new narrative possibilities.

In her video works, Silva explores individuals living on thresholds, caught in transit or stasis. Through the use of allegory and affect, she connects the physical territory with subjective internal landscapes. Narratives of landscape, historical events and personal histories merge in these works, expressed through a layering of image and sound.

Through her installations Silva constructs subjective threshold states, opening up new possibilities to consider the relationship between landscape and inhabitant, between the material and the imaginary, and between visual art and invisible conditions.


Wandering Abroad

The starting point for video installation Wandering Abroad is the life and death of David Oluwale, whose body was pulled out of the River Aire in 1969. It also serves as an elegy to the experience of the many economic and political migrants who have come to Leeds over the years.
David Oluwale stowed away on a ship to England from Nigeria in 1949. Arriving in Hull, he was sentenced to a short term in Armley Gaol, Leeds; 20 years later he was found drowned in the Aire. Subsequently two police officers were found guilty of assault in a notorious case that found them guilty of hounding Oluwale over several years while he was homeless on the streets of the city.
The film traces Oluwale’s final journey down the river, but also narrates a journey through the city, charting the urban development common to many northern post-industrial cities, which often seems to provide little space for new communities to co-exist with the world of new business.


Imported Landscapes

To consider the 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 meter 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 colonization.



Badlands examines the contested frontier territory of Almeria, southeast Spain. This desert landscape on the edge of Europe is being rapidly transformed by intensive agricultural development, golf courses and apartment complexes.
Silva’s pictures focus on plastic as a marker of human intervention to explore how capitalist ideologies and desires are projected onto this desert landscape. Two groups of pioneers co-exist here. Irregular migrants from northern and sub-Saharan Africa build bricolage shanties from salvaged plastic; hidden deep within a sea of poly-tunnels they avoid detection from the authorities. In this respect, plastic at once conceals and reveals. Conversely, northern European migrant golfers spend their savings constructing hybrid homes in gated communities. They too use plastic, to materialise their dreams.