Flowers in full bloom
Dutch photographer Bas Meeuws' floral still-lifes are on display in India for the first time
There’s a fly sitting on a photograph and as one reaches, automatically, to brush it away, the hand stops—and you realize it is part of the composition.
There is an almost three-dimensional quality to Dutch photographer Bas Meeuws’ floral still-lifes. He calls it hyperrealistic photographyBengaluru-based art gallery Tasveer, is holding an exhibition, in association with the digital art platform Dauble, of 43 of his photographs, Spring In The Winter Time. This is the first time Meeuws is being shown in India.
Inspired by the Dutch Golden Age tradition of flower painting, Meeuws’ abundant bouquets of lush and exotic flowers (streaked tulips, lilies, roses, peonies, wild flowers and more) are populated with life (a pair of mating ladybirds, dragonflies, butterflies, snails and lizards). The 43 photographs set against a stark black background and mounted on specially-designed frames, making for a dramatic picture. Each flower is individually photographed to build a digital “flower library" from which Meeuws selects a combination of flowers and foliage to create a unique arrangement, putting together flowers that wouldn’t bloom in the same season.
Interestingly, Meeuws has created a line of Mughal still-lifes and botanicals for the exhibition. Unlike the Dutch floral stills, these are more ordered in their composition and the arrangements are set in antique Mughal-style vases and tables. The photographer, who was inspired by floral depictions seen in online journals as well as books on Mughal architecture and jewellery, visited India in 2015, travelling across Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. A pit stop at Bengaluru’s Lal Bagh Botanical Garden saw Meeuws build a makeshift open-air studio where he photographed an array of local flora—hibiscus, lotus, orchids, frangipani, bougainvillea, etc., which are on display. The results are striking—impossibly beautiful arrangements of delicate lily of the valley juxtaposed with a tall and majestic lotus, for instance. The botanicals, in contrast, are smaller-sized photographs depicting a single flower.
Spring In The Winter Time is on display till April 25 at Tasveer, Sua House, Kasturba Cross Road from 10am–5.30pm (Mon–Sat). Prices start at Rs1,750,000. The exhibition will later travel to Delhi and Mumbai.