In the first half of the 19th century, much of western culture was witnessing the birth of photography. This was shaped by the currents of Romanticism. Painters, writers and musicians were reacting to the accelerating effects of the Industrial Revolution, seeking inspiration through a profound engagement with nature. Through art, they sought the experience of authentic emotion. It’s easy to see parallels with today’s generation of creative practitioners, coming of age amidst the climate emergency. Many emerging artists focus on our relationship with other living creatures, as well as our role within ecosystems.
Inside the Outside unpacks these connections. The early Dutch photographer Richard Tepe (1864-1952) acts as a starting point. Black and white vintage prints – taken from the museum’s collection – are displayed in conjunction with 15 other contemporary artists, who each demonstrate an interest in the organic world and its synergy with humanity. In Jacquie Maria Wessels’ (b. 1959) Memory Master Tree Installation (2021), six large-scale images of trees, shot on 35mm film, are printed on silk material and animated with breeze from fans. The artwork reflects on how memories can be held within trunks and roots, whilst also acknowledging the fragility and transience of remembering.
An image by Ellen Kooi (b. 1962) depicts a young woman surrounded by autumn trees. Illuminated copper leaves echo the strands of her auburn hair, in the process pointing to the affinities we hold with the world around us. Inside the Outside proposes a new kind of Romanticism, built for the 21st century.
CODA Museum, Apeldoorn | Until 25 September
1. Ellen Kooi, Apeldoorn – Leemkuil, 2022, Hahnemüller archival print on dibond, from the Berg en Bos series, commissioned by CODA and made possible by the Mondriaan Fund.
2. Alexandra Hunts ImagiNature: “Bombycilla japonica”, 2012.
3. Jaap Scheeren, **** You Tree, 2020.
4. Daan Paans, Forest Spirit 1, Ultrachrome print – courtesy dudokdegroot.
5. Ellen Kooi, Apeldoorn – Leemkuil, 2022, Hahnemüller archival print on dibond, from the Berg en Bos series, commissioned by CODA and made possible by the Mondriaan Fund.