Mat Hennek‘s ‘Sounds of Spheres’ – ongoing project since 2003 in searching of secret links among different elements on earth as a part of celestial musical composition incorporated in the harmony of the cosmos, inspired by the Pythagorean concept of the music of the spheres.
Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and the planets (only the five planets known by that time – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), all emit their own unique hum based on their orbital revolution, and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear.
“All living beings produce sounds, just like the planets in the universe: a symphony that we hear only if we become attentive, if we keep our ears open down by the wet grass or up near the clouds. Then these sounds resonate, reaching the cavities of the human heart, and everything falls into its rightful place.”
Anne Charlotte Guinot’s series ‘Red Blood’ (Sangre Rojo) – a powerful series of beautiful landscapes in Mexico tainted with red symbolizing blood, in questioning the hidden contradiction of human nature, though shaped and infused by the magic of a given scenery, yet is capable of extreme and inexplicable violence.
Anne Charlotte Guinot – Red Blood
The series refers to a sudden disappearance of 43 male students from the Rural Teachers’ College in Ayotzinapa, a small Mexican village, in September 2014. The reason for their kidnapping remains unclear as well as their destiny. Only two of them have been identified up to date, while the rest are still missing.
“People (in Mexico) are incredibly sweet and nice, but there is also a lot of contrasts… At first, it looks perfectly normal, but if you open your heart, you know it is not… If your gather each of my pictures titles, you will end up with the name AYOTZINAPA. The 43 may be gone, but they will not be forgotten”.
Bas Meeuws’ still lifes works ‘Flower by Flower’ – capturing the passage of time in polished compositions via layered photography, to glorify the timeless beauty to everyday life inspired by the traditional old Dutch masters vision about transience and mortality.
“Flowers are the ideal objects… In nature flowers seduce bees and other insects with colour, scent and unusual shapes and since the very beginning of history, they have had this effect on people as well.” Intrigued especially by their function in 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, the artist tries to summon up the feeling that the people looking at the picture then would have had. “The bouquets in the paintings were impossible constructions of flowers from different seasons. I want to pursue this element of the genre. It gives you the opportunity to work outside of time, to make time stand still… The awe that they must have felt for all the expensive and exotic flowers together.”
Inspired by the poem ‘Amaze’ by the American poet Adelaide Crapsey (1878–1914), Cooper & Gorfer’s series ‘I Know Not These My Hands’ navigates through the ubiquitous traces a troubled history leaves on the human mind and speaks of the aspects of love, loss and layers of identity. The role of hands that play in the project is as a symbol of the deeds you have done or maybe you have not …
“Based on a comprehensive research travel to northwestern Argentina, we map memory and investigate questions of identity and displacement through chance encounters, interviews and photographic meetings with people from different levels within the Argentinian society and adjacent lands. Reflections on colonial wounds, forced migration, and more recent political turmoil surface throughout the project.”
Cooper & Gorfer – I Know Not These My Hands
Cooper & Gorfer comprises the artists Sarah Cooper (b. 1974, USA) and Nina Gorfer (b. 1979, Austria) and for more details about them and their project, watch this video.
The series is published in a book by Kehrer Verlag.
Florian Ruiz’s series ‘The White Contamination’ – portraying the landscape around Fukushima as a poignant photographic reflection of the fleeting moments, the unexpected, the fortuitous, and the deformed, in a multiple reality through a process of assembly, collage and super impression, and by challenging the ability of photography to put in image the invisible danger of the radioactivity.
Florian Ruiz – The White Contamination
“Nature has an essential place in my current work; it is the place where radioactivity accumulates the most… Inspired by traditional Japanese engravings and the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich who seeks to give a spiritual dimension to his paintings. “The painter must not paint only what he sees in front of him, but also what he sees in him”. I wanted to make the landscape accessible to the expression of the Sublime even if it’s contaminated by radioactivity… Japan maintains a strong cultural relationship with nature, loaded with Buddhist notions emphasizing the reality of a world where the only thing certain is the impermanence of all things.”
Florian Ruiz – The White Contamination
Why in ‘white’? The artist replies with a quote from Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’, Chapter 42: The Whiteness of the Whale “…yet for all these accumulated associations, with whatever is sweet, and honorable, and sublime, there yet lurks an elusive something in the innermost idea of this hue, which strikes more of panic to the soul than that redness which affrights in blood.“
Cope and Arnold’s project ‘Stamen’ – dreamy still lifes created by flower arrangements subjected to chemical substances to explore the dual character of nature as giving birth and the subsequent death, and the circle of life of fleeting beauty. The series is inspired by the abstract photography and resembles romantic oil paintings of the 19th century.
“A very New World thing combined with an Old World thing like paintings of flower arrangements… The act of bathing and submersion is the very first in the process of physical and psychological cleansing; it signifies the beginning of the death and rebirth of the self. Through this process we sought to create images which reflect stasis, conflict and surrender between these opposing forces.”
Giulio Di Sturco’s series ‘Living Entity’ – an eight year story about the first non-human entity granted the same legal rights as the people in India – the river Ganges, to raise questions about our responsibility towards it. If we have decided to accept it as a human being, will we treat it this way? “Is the Ganges destined to die exactly under the blows of humanity, or can we hope for change?”
Giulio Di Sturco – Living Entity
“The Ganges is a prime example of the unresolved contradiction between man and the environment.” Once wild, free and vigorous Ganges has dramatically changed over the recent years, affected by the climate change, industrialization and urbanization, and now is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. The Ganges river is considered sacred by more than 1 billion Indians and on brink of an ecological crisis, will it just threaten to damage the human daily life, health and environment, or also the spirit of the river itself?
“The Ganges River is a symbol of Indian civilization and spirituality—it is a source of poetry and legends. In Hindu mythology, the Ganges is considered a “Tirtha,” which means a crossing point between heaven and earth. My fear is this bridge may crumble in our lifetime.”
Julia Fullerton-Batten’s series ‘Old Father Thames’ – a visual tale about the real events with the river Thames as central character in stories of hope, loss, history, progress, life, and death on its banks.
Julia Fullerton-Batten – Old Father Thames
“The River Thames is not even the longest river in the British Isles and a mere pygmy in comparison with other rivers in the world, but it’s significance to British and world history is immense. London is one of the major cities of the world today, but it would not have existed without the River Thames. The river has acted as a source of fresh water and food, an artery of communication and transportation, and a physical and psychological boundary. The River Thames has truly defined the character and prosperity of London for over well over 2,000 years… The stories encompass birth, baptism, death, suicide, messages in a bottle, riverside scavenging youngsters, quaint ancient boats, prison ships (‘hulks’), and include other melodramatic episodes of life and death in and along the Thames.”
Jens Liebchen’s ‘System’ – a series of portraits of Japanese Black Pines in the Gardens of the Imperial palace in Tokyo, too perfect and pristine, than natural, as a reflection of the conflict in the Japanese culture between the principles of society and the mere beauty.
”The tradition of tree shaping has come to assume an emblematic role in Japanese culture. Trees and shrubs in Japanese gardens are often drastically modified. Sculptors both control the location of the trees and manipulate the growth of trunks, branches, and leaves. Little, if anything, is left to nature.”
Claire Rosen’s ‘Persephone’s Feast’ – “series of still life imagery, follows in the footsteps of the masters of the Baroque period, in the concept of ‘memento mori’, harnessing the symbolism of objects to illustrate the fleeting quality of time and the transience of life. These compositions focus on light, color, texture, and atmosphere, and are a stark contrast to the saturated, high-volume of our fast-paced modern life. Viewers are invited to meditate on the dignity, beauty, and purpose in each object, all of which evoke one essential point. This too shall pass… These still life images aim not to grab your attention, but hold your attention. In the age of distraction, they allow us to focus on what is essential. They are a reminder that we are ships passing in the night, and must mindfully choose how we devote our brief and precious time on earth.
Claire Rosen – Persephone’s Feast
In Greek mythology, Persephone, (Greek: Περσεφόνη) was a goddess of agriculture, the harvest, the seasons and the underworld.