A fictional archive of watercolors of the Citadel Park (built in 1913) in Gent, Belgium, supposedly produced by the Reverend William Gilpin (1724-1804), who popularized the term “picturesque” in his popular guidebooks to the English countryside. The watercolors document Gilpin’s impossible visit to the park and attempt to shoehorn the park into his aesthetic preferences, while also documenting contemporary aspects of the park, including its rather unsavory reputation as a popular venue for sexual trysts.

The archive was originally part of an installation and series of tours produced for Beyond the Picturesque at S.M.A.K. An illustrated guide to the Citadel Park, purportedly written by Gilpin, was distributed to inhabitants of all the buildings surrounding the park. To see the full installation and the accompanying guide, click here.

Observations Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty (archive), Ellen Harvey, 2009. Forty-nine watercolors on paper with frames, paint, overall archive installation: 70″ x 20′ (178 cm x 6.1 m). Photograph: Ellen Harvey Studio.