Scheltens & Abbenes – Nothing is what it seems…

23 October 2013 — 5 January 2014
111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 Chicago

Scheltens & Abbenes are the sum total of the unique talent of a still-life photographer and the creative craftsmanship of an artist. Technical perfection added to individual handicraft, strong pictorial clarity in addition to tailor-made settings, always with the emphasis on style and styling.

The specialty of Scheltens & Abbenes is to meticulously arrange objects into configurations that have a strong two-dimensional or graphic character. No matter what the artificial constructed result is, the process breathes the appreciation of and the recognition for workmanship and handicraft. In the quest for the perfect picture, Scheltens & Abbenes continuously move things around, painstakingly join pieces together and adjust little details.

Bouquet III, 2005

Usually this involves using (design) objects or fashion – chairs, glassware, shirts, perfume bottles – which have been taken from their ‘natural setting’ and placed in a new environment. This new context contributes to objects that can no longer be defined by their original shape and become an optical illusion. The new “object” exists in the picture, but not in reality.

Bouquet II, 2005

This laborious process, and the appreciation of and recognition for workmanship and handicraft, is what makes the work of these visual artists stand out. The duo delivers hyper-realistic, strong, clear images, with little to distinguish between free and commissioned work. Big brands and large cultural institutions (Viktor & Rolf, Scholten & Baijings, Hermes, Rijksmuseum) and leading magazines (New York Times, Vogue, The Gentlewomen, Wallpaper) all consciously choose to give the duo free rein to use their distinctive style.

Baluster #4, 2010

The autonomous artistic quality of the photograph always has to prevail. It is up to the viewer to explore the projections and transform these illusions into an analytic quest for the true nature of the portrayed photographic resemblances. What may seem to be a precious object, is actually a plastic jar that reflects the imprint of a cheap tablecloth. A blue sculpture is actually a garbage bag on a rotating turntable. Seventeeth-century floral bouquets are in fact collages of cutout photographic images, intepretating Renaissance ideas with twentyfirst-century technology.

Baluster #2, 2010

By deliberately choosing to operate both in the field of applied and autonomous art and use this as breeding ground for one another, Scheltens & Abbenes send its audience on a quest. A quest for more, exploring the worlds of art, fashion, photography and more; a world where nothing is what is seems…

Baluster #3, 2010

Step into the illusionary world of Schelten & Abbenes, now on show in Chicago & Amsterdam.

Dates to remember:

All images copyright by Scheltens & Abbenes

This post is the result of a collaboration between Arts Holland and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, and is written by Kim Nanne. Kim is the Art Director and Project Manager for Arts Holland and lives and works in Amsterdam.