Don’t let your eyes fool you… Richard Kuiper’s still lifes displayed in The Dylan seem like a painting at first. A still life inspired by the famous Dutch still life paintings from the 17th century. However, if you take a closer look you will not only find the painting to be a photograph, you will also find the objects displayed are plastic items.
During the 17th century merchants would have their valuable goods immortalized by famous Dutch still life painters to show their high standard of living and prosperity. The painters would capture the items like porcelain, glassware, food, exotic animals and shells in lifelike detail.
Nowadays we don’t display our wealth in this form anymore. Our wealth and prosperity lead to one of the biggest problems of our time; plastic. Plastic is everywhere, from plastic shopping bags and packaging to purely decorative items. You name it and you can find it in plastic.
This inspires the Dutch photographer Richard Kuiper to produce still life portraits of plastic like the Old Masters from the 17th century. When you take a close look at Kuiper’s still life image you will find the tablecloth is plastic bin liner, oysters made from melted plastic bags and an elegant goblet made from an athlete’s plastic water bottle.
Richard Kuiper sees the dichotomy in his work: on the one hand, he admires the material, the invention of the everlasting. On the other hand his compositions serve as a warning, and he hopes to use his photos to show how we have gone overboard with our use of plastic.