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Izdavac Udruga Artikul

Musée du château de Montbéliard presents : Karl Blossfeldt (p)
press / e-artnow,Wednesday 15 February 2012



Karl Blossfeldt and the Naturalists of Montbéliard
Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg, Montbéliard

Contact
musees@montbeliard.com
Aurélie Voltz
Phone: +33 3 81 99 23 72
Fax: +33 3 81 99 22 64

Address
http://www.montbeliard.fr/
Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg
Cour du Château
25200 Montbéliard
France

Info
24 February – 20 May 2012
Open daily 10 - 12 am / 2 - 6 pm
Closed on Tuesday



(Karl Blossfeldt, Campanula vidalii, Bellflower Vidal, Flowers, the petals are removed
Extension x 10, Before 1929, Proof silver gelatin, 29,9 x 24,0 cm
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur,
Kőln/Long term loan of Berlin University of the Arts,
Archive – Karl Blossfeldt Collection)


The exhibition features over sixty photographs of plants taken in the 1920s by Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932), an essential actor in the history of photography. These original prints, which haven't been seen in France for over fifteen years, depict wild plants in astoundingly minute detail. Between tradition and the avant-garde, Blossfeldt's captivating views of Campanula, Pulsatilla and Passiflora suggest above all a true passion for collecting and botanizing. In that sense they reconnect with the work of naturalists from earlier centuries. Objective photographs and plates from herbaria collected in and around Montbéliard bring to light a nature in its purest forms just as the first conservationist movement was beginning to take shape at the turn of the 20th century.

Karl Blossfeldt never thought of himself as a photographer. A committed amateur, he used a wooden camera that he had built himself and employed the photographs he shot as teaching aids for over thirty years in his drawing and sculpture classes, notably at the Advanced School of Art in Berlin. In his course called 'Modeling from Live Plants,' for instance, he gave instruction in the graphic and decorative arts based on the depiction of plants, sparking the renewal of a whole artisanal and industrial output in an era when the World Exhibitions were a regular occurrence.

In Berlin, Rome, Greece, North Africa, Blossfeldt collected his specimens by the road and on embankments, dried his finds, drew and modeled them in clay, and made a systematic record of the plants through photography. Blossfeldt was in the habit of selecting lowly weeds rather than the noble flowers of horticulture, felt free to strip away leaves to find the best visual rendering, captured the growth and transformation of the plant world, and adopted the technique of enlargement to reveal details invisible to the naked eye until then. Architecture, line, curve and the symmetry of vegetal texture verge on abstraction and geometry. From image to image, visual surprise and esthetic scope are startlingly renewed in a repetitive process that was put to educational ends.

Exhaustiveness, classification, the collection of archetypes and a penchant for studying nature in general are the essential points that Blossfeldt shares with the naturalists of yore; his work in photography frankly and unabashedly reconnects with the earlier practice of botanists. In a unique approach, the exhibition proposes a rich juxtaposition of black-and-white photographic prints and some twenty herbarium plates collected by Charles Contejean, Joseph Strich and Auguste Samuel Marti, which are conserved in the collections of the Museums of Montbéliard and unknown to the general public. These local naturalists and contemporaries of Blossfeldt helped to catalog the flora of Franche-Comté and Montbéliard, and witnesses to an evolving environment, they were concerned by a nature facing an uncertain future. Through a range of formal, scientific and historic connections, herbarium plates and photographs merge in an unrelenting urge to produce a precise detailed transcription of a concrete world-a resolutely modern idea at the start of the 20th century.

The exhibition at the Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg has been put together with the generous assistance of the Photographische Sammlung in Cologne, which is responsible for promoting public awareness and appreciation of the photographs of Karl Blossfeldt.

The city of Montbard (Côte d'Or) will also be featuring this show at the Musée Buffon from 20 June to 23 September 2012.
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