Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vanitas by Guido Mocafico

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 aux huîtres, 2005, Guido Mocafico

Nature morte å la grenade, 2005, Guido Mocafico

Nature morte au hareng, 2004, Guido Mocafico
Bouquet of Flowers in a Niche
chromogenic print by Guido Mocafico (2006)


Bruce Barone said...


I am reminded of the art of Jean Simeon Chardin.

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