Klaus Enrique is a New York based photographer whose work parallels Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo and has come to adopt the term “Arcimboldist” for his expression. His creepy, amusing, nevertheless stunning portraits capture subjects made from real objects, fruits, and vegetables that realize Arcimboldo’s paintings in real life. At first glance, it might appear as though Enrique’s work is created digitally, but they are actually photographs of sculptures made out of real organic elements, also making Enrique a sculptor.
“This project was about creating my own images and Arcimboldo was simply the starting point,” Enrique says. The photographer is currently showing a new photographic series titled “Arcimboldism” at The Griffin Museum of Photography in Massachusetts. “Once I felt that I had a good understanding of what made Arcimboldo’s work so great, I decided to create what I had originally envisioned, including some of these iconic images that I have been exposed to throughout my life.” The series features new portraits using cabbage, raw red meat, and even spiders as materials.
Enrique’s photos have been criticized for being derivative, but they are building upon a simple concept that also contains darker complexities. His work is primarily concerned with the human condition, and its art historical context. “Each photograph is taken in one hundredth of a second to capture something that will wilt in minutes or at most hours, and at the same time make a historical reference to a painting that is more than four hundred years old by a painter who is obviously dead, but whose work is still very much alive. In a subtle way, these photographs should hint at our own finite place in time,” he says.