Contemporary Installation: Transforming Still Life Painting
3-hour looped film, frame, and Apple Mac
© Rob and Nick Carter
Location: Multimedia Room from October 22, 2013, through January 19, 2014
A film by British husband-and-wife team Rob and Nick Carter is being shown as a complement to Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis. By presenting this work alongside fifteen celebrated seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, the Frick offers an opportunity to consider the way in which Dutch Golden Age works continue to influence artists today. The Carter's twenty-first-century rejoinder to the vanitas tradition, the film is directly inspired by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder’s (1573–1621) Vase of Flowers in a Window of about 1618 (a painting in the Mauritshuis’s collection but not included in the present exhibition). The famous still life features a vase of fastidiously described flowers displayed on a windowsill, behind which a bright sky and picturesque seventeenth-century landscape are visible. The Carters’s mesmerizing film transforms the genre by animating the nature morte. In the course of three hours, Bosschaert’s image changes gradually before our eyes: flowers whither, insects devour the tender foliage, and darkness descends on the distant mountains and river. Like the Old Master painting, which urges viewers to consider the future of the delicate bouquet, the film depicts the transient nature of earthly existence — a timeless message conveyed by modern means. Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals is on view in the Oval Room and East Gallery from October 22, 2013, through January 19, 2014, and Transforming Still Life Painting is being shown during the same period in the Frick’s Multimedia Room, off of the nearby Garden Court.
Frick Director Ian Wardropper commented, “Frick exhibitions have looked at the work of painters and draftsmen such as Picasso in light of Old Master paintings, and we have invited many artists to speak over the years as part of our Artists, Poets, and Writers Lecture Series, but it’s rare for us to have the opportunity to show truly contemporary work alongside directly related Old Masters.”