Flowers of Delusion

We recently encountered the work of Berlin-based photographer Dirk Müggenburg, who is best known for his remarkable still lifes and series of isolated shots from nature — all with a distinct cinematic quality and brooding mystique to them. His still lifes in particular are of an extraordinary beauty and predominantly the result of Müggenburg’s obsession with flowers: both their inherent natural (decorative) beauty and the cultural position they hold. People use them as symbols to make statements of affection and mourning, which also means that people avoid them as they stand for vulnerability and doomed promises. It is very hard to view flowers as culturally neutral objects, for their vulnerable natural beauty arouse either admiration and desire or loathing due to cultural overexposure and negative connotations of kitsch. Müggenburg has explored this widespread hate-love relationship through a critical engagement with attraction, melancholia and sentiment in different series, all showing his extraordinary eye for detail and talent to create a distinct mood in his imagery.

The most diffuse series in his portfolio, aptly named ‘Flowers of Delusion’, is the one we love the most. As if taken behind a foggy window, the ensembles of flowers in vases are for the most part washed out over the frame, creating a photographic abstraction in the natural, pastel-like, color palette, without ever taking it beyond recognition. It is still very clear that this are flowers, but Müggenburg creates an atmosphere as if he is searching for a way to free them from their wide cultural affect — restoring what in our eyes is still the essence: extraordinary beauty.

It seems impossible to view flowers as neutral objects, for their designs arouse either admiration and desire or loathing due to cultural overexposure and negative connotations of kitsch.

Dirk Müggenburg graduated in photography from theHamburg University of Applied Sciences in the northern German city and subsequently finished a diploma in Communication Design, amongst other teachers, under internationally renowned photographer Prof. Ute Mahler. His work has been exhibited in solo- and group shows in different German cities and his ‘The Adam Perspective’ travelled to both Israel and Palestine. His work has been publicized in Der Greif, Vorn IV and Photonews, amongst others.

For all information and work by Dirk Müggenburg see here