We have opened on September the 17th a new exhibition under the title ‘Animalia’, an exhibition with photographs dedicated to the animal. From real life portraits to still lifes with stuffed animals.
Participants: Hans van der Meer, Maarten Wetsema, Jan Koster, Anne-Meike van Willegen, Nicolas Wilmouth and Thomas Zika. The exhibition runs till 30 October.
Fables, text on the images of Nicolas Wilmouth.
Hare, tulip and heron. Sage and rosebush. You are cordially invited to a fairytale dinner.
Here’s the story of a flesh-eating tuberose and a willow tree that’s in love. Forbidden fruit,
vanity, the jealous fox. Nicolas Wilmouth’s own fables are a mix of monkey dreams, Dutch
steam ships and your grandmother’s lace.
From Dada to La Fontaine via Desnos, the ‘Fables’ series is a photographic fairytale, like a
Strange objects, exotic flowers, animals of stature. These dreamlike scenes question not
only our existence, but also our appetite for delight and our mind’s desire to be carried
This project builds on my earlier work, a series of 30 still life photos (‘Still Life’) produced
between 2011 and 2015, exhibited in Paris, Brussels and The Hague.
The reference to historical artistic techniques is made by using plates of albumin silver
glass (which I made myself) and table arrangements reminiscent of Dutch still life
paintings in terms of their point of view, compositions and the symbolism of objects. Yet
the use of white background and the texturing of images adds a modern touch, and
creates a break with the 17th century.
You will also see influences from the19th and 20th centuries, in particular in the historical
techniques used in early photography : daguerreotype, ferrotypes, collodions, etc. The
layering on the image and the effects created by the albumin silver textures evoke the
Pictorialists, but are purposefully woven with anachronisms and heterogeneous effects,
the pleasure derived through the telling, be it of a story, a fairytale or a fable.
Making and using these albuminated silver plates has been a pictorial experiment of sorts,
and required considerable research into the practice of earlier artistic techniques, in so
doing bridging the link between old and new. The randomness of the many chemical
reactions has been reworked digitally using photoshop style software, allowing the
photographer to reshape and polish what was produced naturally, to optimise the effect.
There is a nod to Dadaism in the way the often strange and incongruous objects are used,
as well as the absurd scenes and compositions. There is also a kind of poetry to the visual
narration that teases the viewer, tempts them to build their own story from the photos.