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Art of photographing plants

Known for photographing plants and flowers with cameras that he himself designed and that managed to increase the size of the photographed object up to thirty times, Karl Blossfeld (Schielo, 1865 – Berlin, 1932) managed to attract the attention of thinkers and artists until he became one of the referents of modernist photography. Today, an initiative by Loewe Perfumes, curated by Juan Naranjo, gathers some of the images of the artist who, at the time, showed a new perception of nature at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum.

Under the name Karl Blossfeldt: Urformen der Kunst, and until next October 5th, this exhibition offers a selection of forty of the photographs published in 1928 by the German publishing house Wasmuth in the book Urformen der Kunst, one of the most important photolibers of the time, whose content continues to be valid today, claiming the beauty of the natural. To the point that Unformen der Kunst was once considered a manifesto of the interrelationship between art and nature and is one of the most relevant volumes in the history of photography.

The exhibition is organized in a series of fields that formally and tematically groups their images playing decontextualization to reveal the formal beauty of the plants. Blossfeldt’s photographs were associated with African sculptures and were a source of inspiration for the Bauhaus industrial designers and creators, as well as for the Surrealists.

Professor of modeling at the School of the Royal Museum of Applied Arts in Berlin, where he had completed his artistic training, the photographer and sculptor used to use his images for pedagogical purposes, recording specimens of plants he found in his field trips and work. For more than thirty years he realized this particular photographic herbarium that led him to become one of the most important artists of the New Objectivity. Proof of this is that these images are present in the collections of the most important museums in the world since then. His work has seduced critics and theorists such as George Bataille and Walter Benjamin and inspired artists such as Max Ernst, Joan Fontcuberta and Minkkinen, among others.

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