"Is it worth it, or is it pure vanity to want to preserve our creations for eternity?"
Photographer Jacqueline Louter found a reflection of this question for the Rotterdam Photo 2021 Open Call in her present project Preserved.
The project originated when she had some old stuff that she wanted to donate to our local second-hand store. When Jacqueline was there, her eye caught this artificial flower in a vase. And she suddenly realized it was a sort of time machine in and of itself. A way of 'preserving' nature. When you think of it, artificial flowers are nothing more than a feeble, kind of desperate, attempt of humankind, to capture in plastic and fabric the most beautiful thing nature has to offer.
She wants to expand on that idea and recreate bouquets using artificial flowers from local second-hand stores and then put them together in a single vase. Jacqueline finds it fascinating that she can combine all the separate flowers that were once lovingly bought and used by so many different people. This makes them kind of human in a strange way. To stress the preserving nature, she uses as a source of inspiration flower still lifes of past periods in art and culture.
The Preserved flower stills are set up as mini installations in her studio. Once set up, she creates the right light. When I’m done, everything vanishes again. My floral arrangements are there only for a few moments and then they’re gone again – which is interesting in and of itself.