Still LifesA




In 1997 I lived in New York for a year. On one of my strolls through the city I came across a jewelry stand, a shaky table on a street corner. There I saw rings made of resin with beetles set into the resin, all kinds of types and sizes. I bought a couple. The beetle as a jewel, an object of desire.

Some years later I began to use the beetle for the first time as a main character for scenes or film-stills, a fragment of surreptitious interaction. On two legs, erect and with their large external variety my beetles adopt a human form. The interpretation of human emotions in the beetle (desire, hope, fear) and the context in which the beetle acts, makes perception recognisable and shows a hint of a secret.

Considered from a distance, if set up in a box, insects can look enchanting, with deep and gleaming colours. But zoom in and they frequently have a fearful, sinister look like strange aliens from a horrorfilm. You can turn a stone in a tranquil looking garden and be surprised by the panicky swarm of vermin. In the famous scene from the film 'Blue velvet' of David Lynch the camera dives suddenly into the grass for a couple of seconds and registers the world of darkness under the idyll. My beetles have evolved, crawled out of the grass and make an attempt to take part in the idyll.

The reverse of this transformation takes place in the story 'Die Verwandlung' of Franz Kafka: there a man becomes a beetle. The family members cannot endure this metamorphosis and lock him up in his chamber. From this imprisonment his view on life is reduced to the chamber where he is forced to hide his now monstrous appearance from the outside world (back under the ground) and he becomes dependent on the degree to which his family takes pity on him. Absurd and full of humour, but also sensitive and understandable.

The titles of my photo-work are the scientific names of the beetles and other insects. It is estimated that there are approximately 10 trillion living insects. Almost 95% of all described species on earth are insects. They have been divided in 32 orders or groups. Beetles (Coleoptera) represent the largest order among the insects with 40%. They belong to the 'Holometabola', the insects with a complete metamorphism (egg, larva, pupa, adult). More than 350.000 types of beetles have been described. One of four animals in the world is a beetle.


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