After the Gift – Blossfeldt’s Fan (2016)
Bamboo sculptures x 4, Video

“After the Gift” is a meditation on the transitory nature of culture and the interwoven movements of humans, objects and plants.

A group of bamboo objects displayed on wooden pedestals, reminiscent of a typical museum display, are all woven after Karl Blossfeldt’s plant photography published in Urformen der Kunst (Art Forms in Nature), 1928, and Wundergarten der Natur (Magic Garden Of Nature), 1932.

Karl Blossfeldt, a teacher at Vereinigte Staatsschulen für Freie und Angewandte Kunst (United State Schools for Fine and Applied Art in Berlin), used magnified plant photographs of seeds, flowers, and leaves in his classes to learn from the inherent architecture and design of the surrounding fauna and flora. The use of Blossfeldt’s photography as a design model resumes in Sascha Pohle’s “After the Gift”. Here, the baskets are the result of a translation process of plant shapes and surface structures into bamboo weaving techniques from China. These crafted empty containers, woven hybrid baskets, could invite one to speculate about fertilizing processes of cultural and technical transfers.

The captions of “After the Gift” is a genealogy list including image sources, years and places of production, exhibition places of the actual bamboo sculptures, book sources, authors, or bamboo weavers. Furthermore, listed are the names of plants and the various countries where these plants might have originated from and to where they have all migrated – a footnote on the multiple forms of belonging across national borders through shifting territories due to climate, cultural or political change. Did Karl Blossfeldt know where his photographed specimen originally came from, what was a neophyte or an archeophyte, what was native or once had immigrated as a foreign plant, and could have been called invasive back in the time? Looking at the dried plants in his photography they reveal an array of fine bone structures without “blood”.

Art Forms in Nature, 1928, Berlin, [Wasmuth], Magic Garden of Nature, 1932, Berlin, [Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft], Karl Blossfeldt: The Complete Published Work, 2014 Cologne, [TASCHEN]

# 1, Page 232, Plate 104, Photogravure, Magnified 6 times, Papaver, Poppy, Seed Capsule, Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cambodia Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Greenland, India, Irak, Iran, Japan, Kazachstan, Libya, Macao, Mauretania, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Russia, Tunisia, Thailand, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Syria, Uruguay, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela

# 2, Page 61, Plate 1, Photogravure, Magnified 25 times, Equisetum Hyemale, Dutch Rush, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, Japan, Macao, Mexico, Russia, New Zealand, United States

# 3, Page 429, Plate 86, Photogravure, Magnified 20 times, Conical Silene, Striped Corn Catchfly, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, China, Europe, Iran, Israel, Macao, Morocco, New Zealand, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan

# 4, Page 77, Plate 11, Photogravure, Magnified 30 times, Scabious Seed, Callistemma Brachiatum, China, Crimea, Europe, Iran, Macao, Turkey

“Blossfeldt’s Fan”, the slow motion video is a visual and mimetic play between Blossfeldt’s photography and Chinese woven hand fans. In every sequence, a different hand fan flips a page of an enlarged Karl Blossfeldt photo book “given” by the induced air flow. Shot in slow motion, allows the viewer to follow the overlapping of shapes, patterns, and colors. The constant flow of repetitive movements puts the viewer into a kind of hypnotizing state.

The repetition of movement and overlapping shapes and patterns puts the viewer into a kind of hypnotic state. The word “after” in the title refers to a gift-giving performance in 2016 in which the same hand fans were displayed on a long table and given to an audience. As such, “After the Gift – Blossfeldt’s Fan” also serves as an index of the distributed gifts and speculates on an “after” life of the gift that binds giver and receiver into a continuing relationship across time and space.

Courtesy of the artist





















location: “Advance and retreat of globalization” MAIN EXHIBITION,Macao Museum of Art