Mythical floral still life

,What will emerge looking at these dense, seductive photographs of Dutch blooms? Looking at these scenes bright yellow petals and densely packed fuchsia red and tulip-marbled pink, blooms take centre stage. In these gorgeous tableaux there is splendour dancing with the forbidden. Using elusive mirror reflections layered with lush blooms, iridescent glass sculptures and, more recently a glimpse of bodies of naked dancers, Smulders calls us like a siren to fall in love with her sensual two-dimensional dioramas. Like the Three Graces, the women appear as if they are disappearing, falling into a sensuous world from where there is laughter and no return. We, too lose our sense of perspective and find ourselves falling into their lusciousness.' (I love this text of Siobhan Wall, 2019,)

Inspired by the Dutch Golden Age painters of the 17th and 18th centuries, I began staging a mythical floral still life, Adrian Giacomelli calls it a ‘floral wildlife'. I create compositions of sensual flowers, supple fabrics, twisted glass, water, ink and milk. The flowers in my work are fully blossomed and about to wither. They are actors in theatrical settings that refer to Greek myths, our society and my personal life. I am a trained psychologist and a feminist. I like to honour vulnerability and show the force of fertility - tender forces. I try to explain and mirror life using flowers. Let these lush and strangely erotic tableaus entice you into another dimension.

As Baudelaire says “Get drunk: on wine, poetry or virtue”. Imagine lingering and languishing in these fresh, sultry and lucid landscapes. I love this sensual state - to lose myself in a love affair as if reality doesn’t matter. When I am creating these photographs, I lose myself in the floral still life feeling that it is possible for beauty to save the world.

“Great Heaven! The prince says that beauty saves the world!” Dostojevsky wrote in 'The Idiot'. Did the prince say this because he was in love? Do you believe that beauty can save the world? As an artist, I'd like to explore Dostojevsky’s notion of beauty saving the world by creating works of art so beautiful that you feel salvation within them.

Margriet Smulders

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