: Vol 39(3) - El Dorado Springs

Vol 39(3) - El Dorado Springs

Valerie Sparks

Artist Valerie Sparks’ digitally-assembled landscape El Dorado Springs is a fantastical landscape that brings together disparate locations and perspectives, times of day and seasons. Sparks draws inspiration from late 18th and early 19th century European depictions of landscape, notably a popular 1849 French-produced scenic wallpaper called El Dorado, which depicted a lush picturesque scene that blended architectural features and scenes from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

With El Dorado Springs, Sparks has created a surreal garden setting combining images from multicultural Melbourne’s contemporary urban landscape, in which the buildings themselves tell a story of waves of Australian migration and urban settlement. Thus she envisions a Russian Orthodox church sharing space with Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh temples, a Catholic cathedral and Islamic mosque, all set against a mountain backdrop (actually on the Iran-Iraq border).

‘There are multiple moments present and multiple points of perspective,’ Sparks explains. ‘The authority of the representation of landscape and place is disrupted.’

39-3-cover-art-El-Dorado-SpringsValerie Sparks
Cover image © Valerie Sparks
El Dorado Springs, 2007 (Detail)
Pigment ink on paper, 100 x 600 cm
Image courtesy of the artist and This Is No Fantasy

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