Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Christoph Schaden, Steffen Siegel.
The Alphabet of New Plants is a photo album of beautiful flowers—yet something seems to be not quite right, be it the scruffy contours of a stem made of plastic or the structure of the fabric used for the leaves. In fact, these are artificial flowers, like those that are mass produced in countless variations for decorative purposes. Making direct reference to Karl Blossfeldt’s 1928 The Alphabet of Plants, German photographer Robert Voit (born 1969) assembles an archive of "new" flowers and portrays them against a neutral background, playfully exposing man’s urge to imitate nature. Voit’s earlier series, New Trees, also addressed the imitation of nature, featuring large-format photographs of mobile telephone antennae that blend into the landscape camouflaged as trees, cacti or palm trees. Extending these themes, Voit blurs the distinction between the natural and the artificial with the meticulous close-ups of this new volume.
Published by Steidl Photography International. Text by Christoph Shaden.
Munich-based photographer Robert Voit has discovered a new kind of tree that is sprouting up all over the world: the cellular phone antenna tree, made from steel, fiberglass and plastic, molded to resemble a real tree, and clad with fake branches and leaves. Dubbing these weird sore thumbs "new trees," Voit has found all kinds of specimens--pine, palm, cypress, cactus--throughout the world, in deserts or in the middle of newly planted forests, in fields and parking lots, next to highways or in housing developments. The artificiality of these "new trees" readily declares itself--they are necessarily taller than most trees, their antennae are often visible through the leaves, or the trunks may be marked with warnings to keep away--and even without these clues they stick out from their surroundings as "not quite right," like Stepford wives of the arboreal world. Voit's photographs are composed with deliberate beauty, and the contrast he achieves between tree and sky is especially well judged, enhancing the atmosphere of artifice within these otherwise serene landscapes. Voit traveled throughout the U.S., South Africa and Europe to compile this volume, a sort of postindustrial arboretum that is at once fun and alarming to peruse.
Robert Voit was born in Erlangen, Germany, in 1969. He studied under Thomas Ruff at the Düsseldorf Art Academy and with Gerd Winner at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.