In partnership with Vacheron Constantin, supported by Singleton

Karl Blossfeldt - Art Forms in Nature









A photographer and professor at the Royal School of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin, Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932) is recognised for his extensive and unique photographic plant portraits, which were created to support his argument that all forms created by man, have their origins in nature. His unique photographs reveal the tactile qualities, intricate forms and peculiar aspects of flora which, when magnified transform to resemble architectural structures and the ornamented patterned surfaces of modernist designs. Blossfeldt’s fusion of scientific observation, sculptural form and abstract compositions pioneered an artistic style that forged new approaches to modern art and photography.

A self-taught photographer, Blossfeldt’s ambitious photographic archive was not intended to produce modernist masterpieces, but instead to create academic tools which illustrated his hypothesis that the structural qualities found in nature could be translated and applied to the fields of sculpture, engineering and architecture. He is often recognised as one of the pioneers of modernist photography, particularly New Objectivity, because of his systematic, typological and original approach to the medium. Blossfeldt built a series of cameras with interchangeable lenses, that allowed for greater magnification and through these was able to examine his botanical specimens in unprecedented, microscopic detail revealing their unusual and intricate characteristics.

Working at the junction of Art Nouveau and Modernism, Blossfeldt’s works were primarily used as pedagogical sources for German designers. It was only in his latter years of teaching that his work was brought to public attention, when he worked with the publisher, Ernst Wasmuth, to put together a book of his photographs; Urformen Der Kunst, (Art forms in Nature sometimes translated as Archetypal forms in Nature), published in 1928. An extensive study of organic forms, Urformen der Kunst was positively received not only in the very different avant-garde worlds of Berlin and Paris, but also in the popular press, and it altered the public’s perception of the natural world. It is regarded as a seminal book on photography, that used the sophisticated technique of photogauvre – an intaglio printmaking process whereby a copper plate is coated with a light-sensitive gelatin tissue which has been exposed to a film positive, and then etched, resulting in a high quality print that can reproduce the detail and continuous tones of a traditional photograph. In contrast to the rather crude halftone printing (with which most photographs during the period were shown in cheaper publications), the use of photogravure ushered in a new age of quality photobook publishing, and Blossfeldt was at the forefront of this trend. It is from this book, that the photographs in Tasveer’s exhibition come.

Blossfeldt’s factual yet finely detailed imagery significantly impacted and influenced the styles of subsequent art movements, making him a key voice in the development of modern photography and art in the West. This exhibition at Tasveer, will be the first time his photographs have been exhibited in South Asia, and the exhibition will be accompanied by a new book on his work, published by the gallery.

Exhibition Schedule

Kolkata

17 August - 30 August 2021

The Harrington Street Arts Centre
8 Ho Chi Minh Sarini
Harrington Mansions 2nd Floor
Flat no.5 & 25B
Kolkata 700071 
Monday to Saturday 12.00 pm - 7.00 pm    

Bangalore

10 October - 31 October 2021

Sua House
26/1 Kasturba Cross Road
Bangalore 560001
Monday to Saturday 10.00 am – 6.00 pm

Ahmedabad

02 January - 10 January 2022

National Institute of Design
Design Gallery, Paldi
Ahmedabad - 380007
4:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily

Mumbai

23 January - 28 February 2022

TARQ
F 35/36, Dhanraj Mahal
C.S.M. Marg, Apollo Bunder
Mumbai- 400 001
 

Delhi

24 April - 16 May 2022

Vadehra Art Gallery
D-53 Defence Colony
New Delhi - 24