► Vanitas is a photographic meditation on the transience of life by Niclas Warius, a Finnish photographer who constructs harmonious still life compositions using timeworn objects steeped in symbolic significance: an old clock, a half-burned candle, a dead bird. Alluding unmistakably to the 16th and 17th century vanitas tradition, his immaculately staged compositions waver between beauty and abject melancholy within a nebulous territory of dirt and grace, a place where order meets chaos. With this new series of works, Warius establishes himself as a masterful proponent of the still life renaissance witnessed in 21st century photographic art.
The symbols, curiosities, honeyed beauty and dark nostalgia of Warius’ world is analysed in this book by art historian Harri Kalha.
“A gaping wound confronts us even in the most perfect composition. A peeling strip of wallpaper, a broken glass, a scratched surface, a faded picture, a whole gamut of withering plants and rotting fruits – all invoke the presence of a blemish or fracture in a system of perfect beauty.”