MILJOHN RUPERTO AND ULRIK HELTOFT

Voynich Botanical Studies

Miljohn Ruperto and Ulrik Heltoft  Voynich Botanical Studies

source: loeildelaphotographie

Unique photographs by Miljohn Ruperto & Ulrik Heltoft inspired by the mythical 17th-century Voynich Manuscript give new life to old mysteries. The Voynich Botanical Series references specific illustrations contained in this hotly debated document, portraying organisms that are part-flora, part-fauna. These fantastical organisms are represented at varying stages of the life cycle, symbolized by the four seasons: summer, fall, winter, and spring. The silver gelatin prints are produced through a fusion of digital renderings and traditional darkroom processes to birth images that simultaneously pay tribute to tradition and innovation, history and imagination.
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source: kunstkritikk

I work along two different tracks – one is about quick and improvised work, while the other is really slow, and I always have several projects on the go simultaneously. For example, Voynich Botanical Studies is a long-term project that will extend across the next couple of years. The manuscript contains 129 plants, and the work will evolve over the course of the time it will take us to make them. As yet we have made 16. The film shown at the exhibition is more of an instant piece, but it contains ideas that I have had “stored away” in my mental sketchbook for quite some time, such as the Neanderthal figure and the geocentric universe – where the Earth is the centre – that I wanted to work with. My works are always interlinked in a series of aliases – references that open them up towards other works. The film is an alias for the photographs because of the plant discovered by the Neanderthal man. In this sense the model or matrix for my works lie hidden inside the different works and in each of them. If you look carefully each work incorporates a number of references that link it to previous and future works.

Heltoft works – in analogue and digital formats – with photography, film, and video, often seeking to push back the boundaries of his chosen media while still retaining an old-fashioned Kodak-like quality. His films and photographs are usually presented in an installation context where screens and projections underpin the artist’s ceaseless exploration of illusions – whether optical or personal. Or, as Heltoft himself puts it in this interview: “I choose to believe in illusion”. Perhaps this explains the many roles he has adopted in connection with his works – as a moustachioed dandy clad in velvet, tossing playing cards into a well; as the anaemic French writer Xavier de Maistre during his house arrest in 1794; as a toiling gold digger during the American gold rush, and now as a long-haired Neanderthal man clothed in furs and pelts.
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source: information

Ulrik Heltoft er fuldt fortjent kunstnernes darling. Hans udstillinger er altid ydmyge og præcise, de udforsker fascinerende kulturelle fænomener på en måde, så de som det mest naturlige i verden kommer til at handle om både hverdagen og weekendernes store eksistentielle spørgsmål. Og han gør det i en blanding af film og foto, hvor han altid selv tager opgaven som den følsomme skuespiller på sig.

I The Voynich Botanical Studies and The Origin of Specimen 52v på Andersen’s Contemporary sidder han som neandertaleren med muligheden for at påvirke alle os nulevende og redde sig selv, imens et uforklarligt og uhyggeligt alternativ til naturens gang, og til virkeligheden, udspiller sig i det andet rum.

Alternativet er helt bogstaveligt kryptisk. Det består af 12 fotografier af hidtil ukendte planter, der stammer fra verdens mest mystiske bog, det 600 år gamle Voynich-manuskript, der har voldt kodebrydere, historikere, bibliofile, kulturforskere, naturvidenskaben, ufo-organisationer og mange andre store kvaler gennem århundrederne, siden det blev skrevet. Manuskriptet består af 240 siders tekst og tegninger umiddelbart ikke langt fra Flora Danica, altså en slags gennemgang af planter. Men her bliver det sært, for selvom planterne har lighedstegn med kendte planter, så eksisterer de ikke. På nær en vild stedmorblomst og Kamille, så er bogen fyldt med ukendte planter. Og teksten gør det ikke lettere. Bogen er skrevet i et sprog, der er lige så ukendt som planterne, med 170.000 skrifttegn, der aldrig er blevet dechifrerede. Der er også nøgne kvinder i bogen, der er tegn, som kunne være fra astronomien, der er hidtil ukendte planeter og noget, der ligner avanceret alkymi. Men ingen har knækket koden. Siden 1600-tallet har verdens skarpeste hoveder forsøgt. Og nu også Heltoft. Men det er heller ikke ham, der finder opskriften på guld, beviset på intelligent liv i rummet eller en kur mod al sygdom. Heltoft finder svaret. På det hele. Men han finder det i en helt anden retning.