I am obsessed by Guido Mocafico’s painstaking still life photographs in homage to the 17th Century French and Dutch painters – vanitas kings like Pieter Claesz and Jacques de Gheyn and Philippe de Champaigne and trompe-l’œil masters such as Chardin and Bruegel.
Mocafico says of his work ‘The day someone looking at my pictures asked me why I had photographed paintings, I knew my goal – illusion – had been achieved’.
|Le cabinet de l'astronome, 2007, Guido Mocafico|
Corbeille de fleurs, 2006, Guido Mocafico
|Nature morte à la vanité, 2007, Guido Mocafico|
|Omnia vanitas, 2007, Guido Mocafico|
|Bouquet de fleurs dans un vase de verre, 2006, Guido Mocafico|
Mocafico, however, takes it one step further, creating the illusion of painting through photography – the ultimate expression of hyper-reality.
Still-life paintings, or Vanitas, were born of the Rococo obsession with artifice and the superficial. With his photographs not only has Mocafico managed to duplicate the technique, he’s managed to do it twice in one sitting. His photographs confront us with a double image of reality, an illusion of a painting and in turn an illusion of the real.
Mocafico’s opulent sets, filled with skulls, flowers, meat and other symbols of decay are disconcerting and alluring at the same time. He plays with his viewers, drawing us into a world of shadows, light, colour and texture, then throws us into confusion whilst we attempt to make sense of the illusion. However it’s the sublime beauty of the finished works that’s truly captivating and whether or not you allow Mocafico’s artifice to tie you in knots, you’d be mad to look away.
|Nature morte au gibier à plumes, 2004, Guido Mocafico|
Bouquet de fleurs, 2005, Guido Mocafico
Bouquet de fleurs avec tête de mort, 2006, Guido Mocafico
|Allégorie de la caducité, 2007, Guido Mocafico|
|Vanitas, 2007, Guido Mocafico|
|Vanité et objets de musique, 2007, Guido Mocafico|
Nature morte au cochon, 2004, Guido Mocafico
|Nature morte å la grenade, 2005, Guido Mocafico|
|Bouquet of Flowers in a Niche |
chromogenic print by Guido Mocafico (2006)