Garden of Eden
Our society created naïve approach to the nature, glorifying its fertility and opulence. In same time our civilization harnessed and enslaved it. From the paintings of old masters to modern commercials, we still get the same picture of “natural”, healthy and beautiful fruits and vegetables, but the truth is that we are slowly destroying whatever is left of nature on our
planet for the sake of money and comfort. The fruits and vegetables in the supermarkets, numbered and labeled, certified and standardized, are very good example. The 21st century society has created new Garden of Eden, where everything looks perfect and flawless. But many things, like the taste, the singularity and often even the humanity, have been lost during this process. My intention was to inspire a discussion on our relationship with the nature and the direction of our civilization.
Garden of Eden features 24 colour still-life photographs, resembling the paintings of old masters, but showing our modern fruits and vegetables from supermarket, with label stickers or wrapped in plastic foil. This is why the titles of images consist of the PLU numbers and names of the countries of origin of the products in the photograph. The project was completed in 2011 and its creation was supported by the Ontario Arts Council grant. The exhibition of Garden of Eden is now on the world tour, visiting simultaneously several venues across Europe and North America. You may find the information about current shows in the News section of my website. (photo on the right: exhibition of Garden of Eden in Contemporary Arts Center in Las Vegas, NV, USA, 2011/ photo below: Garden of Eden at Backlight Festival, Finland, 2011)
The photographs were taken with my old good Sinar view camera, on 4×5 inches colour transparencies. I used tungsten lighting which allowed me to create the effects I needed. Unfortunately, nobody produces anymore the large format transparencies for tungsten light, but I had a small supply in my refrigerator. I did not intend to directly reproduce the old paintings. I wanted to capture the atmosphere of these works, the general feeling about them. My wife Anna helped me to build the sets. We were very careful with the choice of our props and of various other elements of composition. We painted our own backgrounds and in some cases I would build things especially for this project.
For the exhibition I framed these photographs in the frames which resemble these of the old masters’ paintings. They look like gold, but in fact they are made of acrylic, which is in harmony with the content of the project. The prints are made from scans and they are archival pigment prints. They come in two sizes (22×28 inches and 16×20) in limited edition of 15 plus 3 AP. The exhibition is accompanied by a 64-pages catalogue, published jointly by the Museum fur Kunst und Kulturgeschichte (Dortmund, Germany), BWA Gallery in Gorzow Wielkopolski (Gorzow Wielkopolski, Poland) and Legnica Art Gallery (Legnica, Poland).
Video from Garden of Eden exhibition at Las Vegas Contemporary Art Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA