Distance: Closeness/Remoteness in Kim Boske’s Photographs
Liga Sakse, Latvian Academy of Culture, Riga
The work Moving Flowers #1 by the internationally known Dutch artist Kim Boske (born in 1978) was published in the first cover series HOU VOL (“Keep Faith”) of the periodical Het Parool on 30 May 2020. Following the aim of the newspaper to help cope with the disastrous consequences of COVID-19, the artist focused on how our perceptions had changed during the pandemic. If previously the content (or what is being represented) was the element that dominated in photography, then during the pandemic, the representational harmony of the content was replaced by the structural features or the way how something is being represented. The article aims to reflect on the artworks created by Boske in 2020 and to show the circulation of ideas contained in them, and with this case study to highlight more general trends in the recent art photography.
The typical theme of Dutch painting — a still life of flowers — has attracted Boske’s attention. The still life of flowers is an abundant theme that fascinates with the inexhaustible diversity. It is considered that the oldest known images of still life in the territory of Europe are the frescoes painted in Roman culture in around 62–69 BC. Though ancient frescoes are located in the territory of Italy, the genre of still life became popular mostly in the 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings. At that time, it was common to paint still lifes with flowers, game, generous tables with food and vanitas still lifes, which illustrated the transitory nature of the secular life. The attention of contemporary Dutch artists and photographers has been attracted by experiments with stage still life and conceptual interpretations, creating radiographs, hypercollages and conceptual photography, as, for example, can be evidenced in the works of Arie van Riet, Bas Meeuws, Hans Withoos, Iris Gonzalez, Jeroen Luijt, Marie Cécile Thijs, Marnix Goossens, Mathilde Karrer, Ron van Dongen, Titus Brein, Yvonne Lacet and oth-ers.
Kim Boske works among these artists, studying how physical movement in time and space constantly shifts our perspective to the physical world. By combining different perspectives into one image, the artist creates a multi-layered reality by maintaining an innovative approach and experimental aesthetics. To the question about her sources of inspiration, Boske replies:
I read the work of philosophers, such as Gilles Deleuze and Bergson. But I am also inspired by someone like Andrew Wiles, the mathematician who solved the thesis of Fermat. These people help to adjust and sharpen my perspective on the world. They keep my process going and make me notice and be inspired by different things every time, especially within nature (Boske )
Boske’s approach is to provide the audience with a sense of immersion and interaction of the image with the audience, since the main role in her photographic work is to capture time and space in a transformational way, by summing up several perspectives from a distance.