new-york

Christopher Williams

Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

Christopher Williams’ installation Angola to Vietnam, 1989, appears at first to be nothing more than a group of 27 black and white photographs depicting botanical themes. Each image, representing a distinct genus and species of flora, consists of a magnified and centrally focused cluster of leaves and branches.This format, stylized by Karl Blossfeldt’s scientific botanical photography, emphasizes objectivity. Although the plants appear to be seen in their natural state, close inspection reveals that some are tethered by wire attachments, while others show seams and broken joints repaired with glue. It gradually becomes evident that these botanical samples are not alive at all, but synthetic replicas of nature on display in vitrines. The images are, in fact, photographs of glass botanical models made to scale by the 19th-century artisan Blaschka. These plantlike artifacts are the codified

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