31 March 2007 till 08 July 2007

Michael Wesely

Parallel to its ‘Vases with Spouts’ exhibition, the Gemeentemuseum presents a series of impressive photographs in which Michael Wesely (b. 1963, Munich) has explosively recorded the whole process of blossoming, growth and slow decay in vases of tulips. By using an extremely long exposure, Wesely succeeds in making all the various stages visible in a single photograph.

The process of blossoming and fading

A photograph normally records a single moment in time. Wesely’s photographs are different. They record what cannot, by definition, be captured in the blink of an eye: the passage of time. He achieves this through the use of extremely long exposures. In these particular photographs, Wesely has decided the length of exposure according to the lifespan of each individual vase of flowers. If the tulips had faded after five days, the exposure was ended. If they lasted seven days, so did the exposure. Although the process of blossoming and fading seems to be the same in every case, the photographs are surprisingly varied. In one, the blossoming stage may be most visible; in another, it is the fading that is most clearly recorded.

Wesely came to prominence with his ‘Open Shutter’ project, for which he set up cameras at various locations in and around the building site during the renovation of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. By leaving the shutters open throughout the construction work, he produced a series of beautiful and ghost-like images.

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