Nature has provided endless inspiration for artists throughout history. Georgia O’Keeffe abstracted delicate petals in paintings such as Jimson Weed (1936), drawing connections between botany and the body. Elsewhere, Ansel Adams’ (1902-1984) photographs of America’s national parks, including Moon Over Half Dome (1960), emphasise the sublimity of mountainscapes.
Fotografiska Stockholm’s latest show sees 16 contemporary photographers pay tribute to the fragility, beauty and adaptability of ecosystems. Cig Harvey’s (b. 1973) deeply mysterious images are a call to action amidst conflict, eco-anxiety and social division. “Experience this. Feel this,” says the artist. “My pictures are of flowers, but they are about living and dying.”
In Bloom also alludes to the cycle of nature on Earth and how the current geologic period, Holocene, is being rapidly accelerated by human actions. In 2022, environment editor Damian Carrington reported in The Guardian that “more than 500 species of land animals were found to be on the brink of extinction and likely to be lost within 20 years. In comparison, the same number were lost over the whole of the last century.” Ori Gersht’s (b. 1967) compositions reflect the conflicts between nature, humanity and technology. Floral arrangements are ruptured and fragmented into explosive displays of colour. The stark contrasts of light and dark moments found in the exhibition echo the complex relationship between nature and humanity. It illuminates elements of commonality and comfort that can provide new solutions in a period of social and environmental crises.
Fotografiska Stockholm | Until 11 June
Words: Saffron Ward
1. © Cig Harvey, The Point (Lilac Trees), Northport, Maine, 2022
2. © Inka&Niclas 4K Ultra HD II (Tropical)
3. © Xuebing Du, Mother of Pearl, 2020
4. © David Ụzọchukwu, Heartstrings, 2018. Courtesy of David David Ụzọchukwu and Galerie no. 8