Dan Holdsworth | Continuous Topography

A major commission from Audemars Piguet, Dan Holdsworth’s Continuous Topography reimagines the Vallée de Joux, located in the Jura mountains that form a natural border between Switzerland and France. The new work invites the viewer to consider their own personal relationship with time.  To consider the  disparity between the instantaneity of the modern era and the inhuman timescale of rock formation.


Each image is the result of weeks of collaboration between Holdsworth and a research geologist amassing hundreds of photographs and using computer programming to create a three-dimensional model of the landscape. The result is what Holdsworth calls the new form, future archaeology. The limestone range of the Vallée de Joux, specific to the region, is the target of the application and creates the images of an abstract, immaterial plane. Holdsworth reveals the results of his searching for the elements of the landscape beyond a normal human understanding. He presents the unpresentable to the viewer.


The images of Continuous Topography are, at first glance, fragments of the Jura mountains. Extracts of the terrain. Each of which forms a complex connected infrastructure of impossible geometries. It is in this work that Holdsworth has codified the representation of time. Each moment has left its pockmark, its scratch on the surface of the stone. The viewer begins to question their existence, their own relationship with time and what will remain of their time. Time as represented in the Continuous Topography is a wild landscape, untouched and untamed by the hand of man. The images of Holdsworth’s investigations allow the viewer to see the nature of time and their relationship with it, to explore what lies beyond the understanding of man in the microscopic of the limestone and to reevaluate their relationship with time. These are the images of the unfolding epoch of the cosmos.

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Words | Rob Woodgate