August 2, 2011
Helene Schmitz: Sunken Gardens and Carnivores – a fascinating portrayal of the “underside” of nature
1 Helene Schmitz
2 Helene Schmitz
3 Helene Schmitz
The name ‘Sunken Gardens and Carnivores’ is bound to spark interest and intrigue and no doubt that was the intention of the Swedish photographer Helene Schmitz latest exhibition. ‘Sunken Garden and Carnivores’ is being shown at the Centre d’ Art et de Nature, Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire until 3 November 2011.
The artist’s inspiration for her extraordinary exhibition came from a journey she to South America in 2010 in the footsteps of Daniel Rolander, a neglected and forgotten Linnaean apostle.
Schmitz’s interest was ignited when she visited a butterfly farm in the middle of a jungle which was run by a Dutchman. The owner’s attempts to uncontrollably restrain an insatiable nature, to fame a section of a jungle in order to breed butterflied, fascinated her.
The Sunken Gardens and Carnivores displays a series of photographs which question the “underside” of nature whereby man, with his desire for domination and control, does not find comforting. In her striking and vibrant photographs, Helene Schmitz breaks the notion that it is man who dominates the world and instead it is nature that ‘dominates, encloses and devours.’
Part of the exhibition shows Schmitz’s photographic appraisal of the botanical gardens of Sweden for the last two years. The images, mostly portraits of carnivorous plants, again explore the relationship of tension between nature and cultures.
Likening wild plants to human portraits, the Swedish photographer takes individual flowers and plants into her studio and photographs them using artificial lighting and bold and vibrant backgrounds. Away from their natural context, the photographs deepen the vice that flowers are formidable predators, and similar to family portraits, ‘each member is crueller than the next.’
To view more of the experimental photographer’s ground-breaking and fascinating projects visit her website.