The exhibition tries to find answers to the following questions: how the still-life motive evolved in art? What’s the attitude of contemporary artists towards this tradition and how it’s being interpreted by them?
The starting point for this exhibition was a book – Nature morte by Michael Petry, the director of MOCA London, in which he shows still-life and its history as a complex artistic problem. The author divides the main subject into 5 topics: flora, fauna, food, houseware and death. Each of them is reflected through the works displayed at the exhibition. The curators concentrate on the works by contemporary artists of many nationalities and artistic circles and combine them with works selected from the host’s collection of both contemporary and historical art. Displaying still-life in many contexts, they go beyond a presentation of traditional painting techniques.
In the section dedicated to food, visitors will be able to see a photograph by Mat Collishaw, from the series documenting the last meals eaten by the convicts on the death row.
Triple Hyacinths by John Dugdale is a work made with a historical photography technique – cyanotype. Seemingly ordinary composition is in fact unique because of the way it’s been accomplished. Due to an illness connected with HIV, the artist is almost completely blind. In order to take a photograph, he describes the composition to his assistant and then takes the picture with his help. The image appears essentially in his mind and the final result is an attempt to reflect the initial idea as precisely as possible.