In Hotel Vue des Alpes. Terrasse 4 a magnificent Alpine panorama unfolds in the background. On the horizon a snow-capped peak, and in the foreground a metal table with sunglasses, map, and drinking glass. Gradually, the scene takes on a strangely disconcerting air. There seem to be disruptions and inconsistencies—whether in the overall scene or in its countless details—that thwart our ability to grasp quite what it is we are looking at here.
The creators of this entirely computer-generated mountain world—artist duo Monica Studer and Christoph van den Berg—play wittily yet persuasively with the viewers of their work, which oscillates between an almost pedantically detailed photorealism and a supposedly cool abstract artificiality. Studer/van den Berg generate images without photographic prototypes, resulting in bizarrely synthetic surfaces and unnatural breaks both within and between the structural units that shape the environments.
The sequence of images held by the Baloise collection was created in connection with the sophisticated Internet project Hotel Vue des Alpes (2000—), using Cinema 4D and Bryce, as well as the artists’ own programming to generate an environment of a virtual hotel complex and its surroundings on screen. Hotel guests can book a room on the website www.vuedesalpes.com for five days, and receive exclusive online access. They can take a virtual look around it whenever they want, follow the path to the lake, or take a pedal-boat trip.
Drawing on the nostalgic romanticization of 1960s aesthetics, Studer/van den Berg have lovingly created an over-crafted alpine realm so brimming with clichés that it can only be conceived as a construct—or perhaps as a fond memory of happy childhood holidays spent in mountain climes.