Something rather curious is happening in the recently renovated Philips Wing at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, according to Hyperallergic (in my opinion, one of the best-informed and written art blogs).
Known for its marvellous collection of Rembrandts, the museum currently holds another wonder for visitors who climb its glorious 18th century staircase — as this video shows.
As you ascend, contemporary light fittings bloom like modern flora — a fascinating feat of choreography that mirrors the behaviour of real flowers. Their Dutch creators, designers Studio Drift, rather academically describe them as ‘performative light sculptures’.
The five silk forms descend about 30ft to meet visitors. As they do, gravity reveals an intricate interior of petal-like layers, which disappear as a motor pulls them back into ‘buds’. It is very beautiful — as are similar works from Studio Drift: Fragile Future III sees real dandelions connected to luminous bronze circuits, and is a piece the Victoria & Albert Museum has been smart enough to acquire.
Flowers in a dazzling light
Enlightened Blooms: Solarized Diptych Photographs by Bradley Oliphant (Glitterati Inc) © 2015, published by Glitterati Incorporated
It wasn’t just Man Ray who liked to ‘solarise’ the subjects of his portraits — giving, in the process, even the most conventionally beautiful, like Lee Miller, a numinous presence. The venerable photographer Brad Oliphant has been solarising ‘portraits’ of flowers, and even whole trees.
The results are published in the beautiful Enlightened Blooms (Glitterati Incorporated), a book which presents a highly saturated, almost neon vision of flowers, as though seen through an acid-trip lens. Published by Glitterati whose highly original books are produced absolutely impeccably, this is definitely one for the Jean-Michel Frank coffee table… put it beside Man Ray Portraits.
Blossoming Persian carpet
Persian flowers bloom in the tiny fragment of a Persian textile, from the small, bazaar-like London Antique Rug and Textile Art Fair (LARTA). The event is London’s only specialist fair of its type, and there is always something spectacular to be found.
Those who are unable to trek to Marylebone can visit the virtual viewing platform on LARTA’s website, which allows users to find rugs, embroideries, tapestries, kilims — or increasingly sought-after tribal artefacts — from the comfort of your own home.
The London Antique Rug and Textile Art Fair. 16-19 April, The Showroom, Penford St (off Church St), Marylebone, NW8
And finally, flowers under the microscope
Matsuura Tomoya Follow, Micro Art / Withered plant, 2014. SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope). Width of the image 1.2mm ©TomoyaMatsuura
Japanese artist Tomoya Matsuuia has produced a new series, enticingly called Withered Plants. By scanning flowers with an electron microscope, the artist captures the plants as they wither mid-process. The result? Beautiful images, but a long way from Man Ray.
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