“Carving is easy. You just go to the skin and stop.” - Michelangelo

 

Objects from the natural world have interesting shapes yet are not classified as sculptures until they are carved, chiseled, or arranged intentionally by an artist. Photographers can blur this line by asking us to look closely at a tree, rock or cloud as if looking at sculpture in a gallery.

 

Astrid’s new series challenges viewers’ perception even further by enclosing plants in a thin nylon skin so that the branches are still visible yet transformed with metaphorical possibilities. The addition of just one new element alters her plants and stones into an unexpected hybrid existing between sculpture and photography...

...The shapes captured in these images are unique and abstract, yet cannot be removed from human connotations. Trees always resemble bodies with their upright arms and slender fingers, and in myths humans can transform into trees. Seeing a branch through the translucent surface of a nylon stocking reminds us of skin and the skeletal system beneath. Skin is the gateway of touch, and sculpture appeals to this sensual pleasure. Photographing through skin reminds us of X-rays.

 

In these abstracted images containing trunks, twigs, leaves, buds, and berries perhaps we see muscles, joints, arteries, organs, and nerves. We are defined superficially by our skin and profoundly by the emotions dancing beneath.

 

Floating silk cloths allow Zuidema to record air currents, and preserve sculptural moments that could only be captured by photography. Heavy stones pull us in the opposite direction creating delicate curves in the nylon they threaten to destroy. A mysterious sphere of hair links many of these notions; it calls out to be touched and held … a stone as light as air.

Photography is often used to capture an instant in time and freeze the dynamic moment into a static image.
It’s challenging for an artist is to depict themes that resist being frozen and instead represent the shifting nature of time.

 

One possibility is to photograph dried flowers and wilted leaves that imply a sense of before and after … simultaneously symbolizing life and death.  Another option for the artist is to layer images and thereby insist that objects exist only as part of the flow of time...

...taking this idea one more step, imagery can be layered before, as well as after, the camera is introduced. Astrid is interested in the soul of an image and aims to capture the traces of time and experience on natural objects, man-made objects, handmade arrangements of natural objects, human hands, leaves that remind us of fingers, hand tools (a compass) and a rebellious left hand that gets brighter as it gets further away from the viewer and shrinks into a right hand.

These photographs do not freeze the moment but show us subtle shifts that mirror the sprouting qualities of perception.

Astrid Zuidema (Tilburg, 1970)

 

Astrid Zuidema graduated from the KABK in The Hague in 1992. Subsequently she started working as a photographer (fashion and portrait) and took part in an exhibition with Ruud van der Peijl at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1996. Seven images (up to two meters high) were incorporated in the exhibition called 'Scanning'.

 

Her works were published in a great number of magazines, including Dutch, Elle, Volkskrant Magazine, Linda, Attitude, MAX, Carl’s Cars etc. She has also published some of her work in several books including Belgian Fashion Design (Ludion), Bags, a lexicon of style (Valerie Steele), Sensation (Steidl) and Buch 24 x 30 (MAK, Vienna). In 2015, together with writer Annette Wiesman and designer Tosca Lindeboom, Astrid made a book about Dutch sayings called “DE HOND IN DE POT”, the book was published by Ploegsma.

 

Meanwhile, her personal uncommissioned work evolved, making collages and sensitive still-lifes with strong sculptural elements. In 2016 and 2017 she took part in the group exhibition IJ-Kunstcollectief at gallery Nieuw Dakota in Amsterdam organised by Edwin van den Hoek.

 

 

Astrid lives and works in Amsterdam.

 

CHASSESTRAAt 31H - 1057HX - AMSTERDAM

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Inspirational quotes by Seth Berg, Telluride, Colorado, USA.

 

Seth Berg on LinkedIn