Luzia Simons


Récits en fleurs

Récits en fleurs

Luzia Simons, who was born in Quixada in the northern region of Brazil in 1953, attended La Sorbonne in Paris to study history before switching to the visual arts. She relocated to Germany in 1986. She currently resides and works in Berlin Luzia Simons’ photographs give the impression of being three-dimensional. Even when cut off at the edge of the frame, it appears as if the flowers would lie in display cases or float in a diffuse space without direction, without an above or below.

Luzia Simons stages her flowers in a unique combination of material precision, beauty and vanity. She deconstructs conventional representations of conventional representations of these motifs, such as floral ornamentation, patterns or decoration, elevating them to the status of art. The technique she uses to do this is equally exceptional. For her arrangements of tulips made in the for the Stockage series, she does not use a camera, but a special scanner that allows her to obtain an incomparable spatial depth. What makes her scanograms so special is the effect : instead of the classical vertical-horizontal division of a two-dimensional image, Luzia Simons’ works emphasize a tangible foreground that removes the viewer from a hazy dream without defined space-time. These works oscillate between an extreme proximity and an extreme distance, questioning the limits of our reality.

In her work, Luzia Simons combines illusion and naturalism in a very singular way. Looking at her images, we want to touch the flowers, to capture their beauty. Even today, the optical illusion and the trompe-l’oeil effect of the Renaissance, hasn’t lost its fascination. Between the herbarium and the hortus conclusus, the artist’s presentations of tulips make reference to Dutch or Flemish baroque floral still lifes, evoking images of «tulipomanie» and the ruinous trade in tulips and their and their bulbs in 17th century Holland. The interaction between the different flowers is fascinating; they repel each other and then intertwine, as if they are fighting or embracing in harmony. From this myriad of interpretations emerges a theatrical drama that could just as easily stage a merciless botanical battle for light, water, and land.

The opposing pairs of realism and abstraction, shadow and light, smooth and rough surfaces serve as the formal structure of the piece. Time and space become mere props for what is depicted and observed; these impress much more by a bewitching timelessness, even infinity. In his play with spaces and visual formats, with meaning, perspectives and meaning, perspectives and dimensions, Luzia Simons uses an inexhaustible repertoire, a floral universe. Extract from an essay by Matthias Harder, Mysterious, Dangerous Beauty By choosing Japanese Mitsumata paper, which best transfers the abundance of green tones into the pigment print, Luzia Simons achieves vibrant color tones as a support for the images. With a staging of the sublime beauty of tropical nature, the artist references colonial and tourist spaces of nostalgia. But at the same time, these exotic and power-obsessed projections are countered: as the plants occupy the entire pictorial space and the richness of detail reveals no hierarchy, Simons achieves an effect of overgrowth, before which we, the viewers, seem infinitely small. The staged beauty becomes something disturbing, disturbing. In 2022, she participated in the 13th Mercosur Biennial in Brezil - curated by Marcello Dantas - where she presented a monumental installation of 18 fabric elements of different heights.

This 13th edition theme “Trauma, Dream, Escape” recognizes the notion of trauma – be it personal or collective – as the most important trigger in the artistic process, and dreams as the best stratagems to escape from it.

«Between wars and pandemics, rituals were denied to most people. Millions died without the consoling ceremonies of farewell being able to be carried out. This work is an allusion to the floral symbols so often used in the rituals of welcome and parting. The fabrics, for historical and cultural reasons, are garments in which the bodies of the dead are wrapped. The heavier linen as a reminder to perseverance, and the lighter silk as a gesture of the preciousness of the fleeting life. These textile images printed from scanned flowers are what convert my work into a rich, luxurious, splendid envelope, hereby returning recognition, appreciation, and remembrance of those who have traumatically disappeared.»

Luzia Simons

Espace Verrière