Exhibitions image

Karl Blossfeldt – Art Forms in Nature

Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) was a German photographer celebrated by the Surrealists and early modernists for his pioneering close-up images of plants and flora. Trained as a sculptor he was also an amateur botanist, fascinated by the underlying structures of nature.  He created his extraordinary catalogue of studies of natural forms as a teaching tool for the benefit of artists, artisans and architects.

This Hayward Touring exhibition consists of 40 photogravures from an original German portfolio, ‘Wundergarten der Natur’ 1932, edited by Blossfeldt and published in the year of his death. It follows the recent exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Over three decades, Blossfeldt produced 6,000 photographs, using a homemade camera and lens that could magnify a subject by 30 times, to capture the microcosmic aesthetic of his specimens. In 1928, the first of three ground-breaking portfolios was published under the over-arching title Urformen der Kunst (Artforms in Nature)It became an overnight sensation; Blossfeldt was celebrated for discovering a hitherto ‘unknown universe’ and for his exemplary technical feats as a photographer.

The philosopher Walter Benjamin declared that Karl Blossfeldt ‘has played his part in that great examination of the inventory of perception, which will have an unforeseeable effect on our conception of the world’. He compared him to Maholy-Nagy and the pioneers of New Objectivity, and ranked his achievements alongside the great photographers August Sander and Eugene Atget. The Surrealists also championed him, and George Bataille included his images in the periodical Documents in 1929.  


Karl Blossfeldt – Art Forms in Nature



4 July - 13 September 2015
Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol 

19 September - 18 October

7 November 2015 - 31 January 2016
Burgh Halls, Linlithgow 

13 February - 8 May
Moderna Museet, Stockholm 

2 - 31 July

6 August - 4 September

10 September - 9 October

15 October 2016 - 8 January 2017
Gallery Oldham, Oldham 


Karl Blossfeldt – Art Forms in Nature


Exhibition fee for four week showing including two way transport in the UK mainland £750 plus VAT (financial year 2015/16 - 2016/17)

Gallery requirements 75 running metres

Security Category C

If you are interested in hiring this exhibition or would like more information, please contact Alison Maun, email: alison.maun@southbankcentre.co.uk

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