Nature Morte


Written and collated by Michael Petry, Nature Morte is a timely survey of twenty-first century still-life — a genre previously synonymous with sixteenth and seventeenth-century Old Masters. In recent years, artists have combined the metaphorical and moral traditions of still life with contemporary approaches to painting, photography, sculpture and video. The cover illustrates this clash of old and new with a lenticular print — Ori Gersht metaphorically and literally blowing apart a Jan Davidsz. de Heem still life.

The book is split into five chapters referring to the classic categories of the still-life tradition — FloraFoodHouse and HomeFauna and Death. Each chapter begins with an image/typographic opener and historical essay and continues with contemporary works that explore the concept of memento mori — a reminder of death, change and the passing of time.

The design is informed by the allegorical symbolism and striking juxtapositions characteristic of still-life: transient/ultimate, light/shadow, life/death. Essay designs are informed by 16th and 17th century dutch typography — a region and period synonymous with still life.