Starting out as a photographer in the field of fashion and product design, Giovanni Castell began his artistic practice in the photographic and digital art towards the end of the 1980s. Through the virtual manipulation of photographs and the use of computer programs, the artist creates his own version of reality: from desolate landscapes with a surrealist aesthetic to lush forests exploding with compositional and chromatic vibrancy. Virtual programming allows the growth of artificial plants and organisms that compose a vision of nature appearing both as familiar and estranged.
The two works in this exhibition come from his recent In Lucem Edere series (2014-2016). In this collection of “digital paintings” a colourful and luxurious vegetation comes to life with the aim of exciting the senses and questioning our own ideas about the natural world. With the advancing deskilling of photographic practice – fostered by the growing use of social media platforms and more sophisticated mobile technology – artists like Giovanni Castell have begun to seek for new ways to experiment with the medium. The most vital aspect of such challenges is expressed in the Castell’s use of new digital technologies to subvert the over-represented image of nature, both as part of the popular media and of our wider romantic traditions.
Giovanni Castell (b. 1962, Munich) is a German-born artist who lives and works in Hamburg. His works have been exhibited in Germany, Austria and Italy both as part of solo shows as well as group exhibitions, including Boxen und Blumen (2011) at FOTO-RAUM, and Flowers & Mushrooms (2013) at Museum Salzburg.