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Botanical Studies

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Thomas Solomon Gallery
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Botanical Studies Specimen 55v JARO , 2013 Silver Gelatin Print on Fiber-based Paper 19 3/4 X 15 3/4 Inches © Courtesy of the Artist and Thomas Solomon Gallery
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Voynich Botanical Studies Specimen 34v JARO, 2013 Silver Gelatin Print on Fiber-based Paper 19 3/4 X 15 3/4 Inches © Courtesy of the Artist and Thomas Solomon Gallery
Botanical Studies

427 Bernard Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
April 28th, 2013 - June 15th, 2013

QUICK FACTS
WEBSITE:  
http://www.thomassolomongallery.com
NEIGHBORHOOD:  
chinatown
EMAIL:  
info@thomassolomongallery.com
PHONE:  
323-275-1687
OPEN HOURS:  
12-6pm Wednesday to Saturday
TAGS:  
photography

DESCRIPTION

The Voynich Manuscript is a 16th century document of unknown authorship. It is written in a mysterious language whose origins and purpose are unclear. To this day, the text remains undeciphered. Both academic and amateur circles continue to debate whether it was written in code, merely gibberish, or perhaps an elaborate hoax. 

The first part of the Voynich Manuscript contains numerous botanical illustrations. Like the mysterious text, the identity of the plants, too are debated. Some present-day botanists claim to have identified a portion of them yet others believe that the illustrations are too roughly drawn and too fantastical to match a natural counterpart.

The Voynich Botanical Studies, made in collaboration with artist Ulrik Heltoft, depicts plants modeled and textured through digital 3D software approximating the illustrations in the Voynich Manuscript. The textures of the digital plants are garnered from photos from the internet and scans of actual plants. The digital images are then photographed unto a 4x5 negative and printed on 40 cm x 50 cm fiber paper.

The photographs recall the formalist photographs of Karl Blossfeldt. But instead of applying a formalism to nature as did Blossfeldt, The Voynich Botanical Studies applies formalism upon an imaginary image, opaque in its authorship, history, and purpose. Since The Voynich Botanical Studies are fantastical and part invention, its formalism lays out its own process and delineates the limits of its makers' knowledge and imagination.