Back to map


Reservoir (2)

Uta Kogelsberger, 2003

An artist residency resulting in a series of long exposure photographic images of Kielder Water & Forest Park

Read more

Media Gallery

See more

What's your perspective?

We want to see your photos of your visit to Kielder. Be creative and have fun!

See the photos

Have your say

Let us know what you think about this piece of art.

Add your comment

Uta Kogelsberger's artist residency in 2003 saw her exploring aspects of Kielder Water & Forest Park's unusual environment through the use of photography. Taken mostly at night or in very low light conditions, Kogelsberger's images use very long exposures sometimes combined with hand-held lighting to capture a sense of the liminal and suggest the presence of qualities within the landscape that are hidden to the naked eye. The main image of the valve tower was taken in the middle of the night when little was visible  to the naked eye. The camera however, recorded the image, the long exposure flattening the water and accentuating the blue wavelengths of light in the night sky to present an eerie vision of unnatural stillness.

Other images captured the reservoir at an unusually high level, trees partially submerged along the shoreline and water overflowing into the spillway at the side of the dam.

Kogelsberger's work at Kielder subsequently formed an exhibition at the Queen's Hall Arts Centre in Hexham.     

See more films and photography

View our Flickr gallery

What is it that makes our experience of the night so different from that of the day? When we are deprived of visual information the brain starts to fill in for what the eye can’t see and we begin occupy an internal reality where the real and the imagined begin to melt into one another. This series seeks to describe that intensified mental space we experience in darkness.

 It’s the kind of situation where our minds transform the creaking of a floorboard into an unwanted and threatening intruder. What is interesting about that situation is that it becomes metaphoric for how we construct a sense of the ‘real’ through pre-existing knowledge. All the images we have seen and stories we have read shape our relationship to the world. How frequently do we think this experience, landscape or situation reminds us of such and such a film? The images address this shaky relationship to reality in echoing a cinematic language. There is no such a thing as ‘authentic’ experience.

There is a strange parallel here in how the camera sees the world in a way that the eye can’t see. It takes us to places we could never visit; the sky would never be that blue or the water that still. Most of the work is shot during the last few hours of twilight with long exposures and artificial lighting, which result in the creation of images that appear as if they might have been manipulated. It is very important that the images maintain the right edge of the believable; that they present a distorted reality, one that might just be possible as opposed to an imaginary world.

A lot of the work contains filmic references; the brush of the car headlights could come out of a road movie and give a sense of a fleeting glance over a landscape where much remains hidden. Some of the images are actual locations for films such as for instance the image ‘Causeway’ which also appeared in Roman Polanski’s Film ‘cul the sac’. This creates an impression of familiarity. So much of our experience relies on pre-existing knowledge; knowledge obtained through cinema and television, which shapes our understanding and relationship to the world. The sense of narrative created through the filmic references results in involving the viewer into a complicit construction of the image. The cumulative effect of the long exposures creates the impression that the landscape is under some strange spell and only a counter spell could bring things back into motion. It seems that all human habitation has vanished and only our architectures are left.