The Garden of Eden exhibition features 24 color still-life photographs, resembling the paintings of the old masters, but with a modern twist. The artist incorporates carefully composed fruits and vegetables along with precise lighting to create a dramatic display similar to the old master painters. Surprisingly, the vegetation is photographed with the label stickers and plastic wrap still in place as if freshly purchased from the local market. This depiction of PLU (Price Look-Up Codes) numbers and country origins represents the title of each work. The photography project was completed in 2011 and its’ creation was supported by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario, Canada.
The artist Andrzej Maciejewski was born in Poland and currently lives in Ontario, Canada. He attended the College of Photographic Arts, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia; the Polish Society of Art Photographers School and the Warsaw College of Photography, Warsaw, Poland. He currently serves as a faculty member at Fleming College, Haliburton School of Arts in Ontario, Canada and exhibits his work internationally.
This exhibition was generously sponsored by Tim Lawrence of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Jackson.
Our society created naive approach to the nature, glorifying its fertility and opulence. In same time our civilization harnessed and enslaved it. From the paintings of old masters to modern commercials, we still get the same picture of “natural,” healthy and beautiful fruits and vegetables, but the truth is that we are slowly destroying whatever is left of nature on our planet for the sake of money and comfort. The fruits and vegetables in the supermarkets, numbered and labeled, certified and standardized, are very good example. The 21st century society has created new Garden of Eden, where everything looks perfect and flawless. But many things, like the taste, the singularity and often even the humanity, have been lost during this process. My intention was to inspire a discussion on our relationship with the nature and the direction of our civilization.
The photographs were taken with my old good Sinar view camera, on 4×5 inches colour transparencies. I used tungsten lighting which allowed me to create the effects I needed. Unfortunately, nobody produces anymore the large format transparencies for tungsten light, but I had a small supply in my refrigerator. I did not intent to directly reproduce the old paintings. I wanted to capture the atmosphere of these works, the general feeling about them. My wife Anna helped me to build the sets. We were very careful with the choice of props and of various elements of composition. We painted our own backgrounds and in some cases I would build things especially for this project.