I have always enjoyed visiting baroque gardens, and was really excited when I was approached to exhibit my fine art photography at the Assumburg castle park in Heemskerk.
Castle Assumburg dates back to the 14thcentury and was rebuilt in 1546 (this is its current shape). At the beginning of the 18thcentury it was owned by the rich Amsterdam merchant and regent Jean Deutz. He built a splendid baroque garden in front of the castle.
Symmetrical French gardens that impose order on nature were in the spirit of that time, but since the 19thcentury the park gradually declined. Happily, it was reconstructed and restored in its glory in 2009-2011 by a group of volunteers. They set up a foundation, organized a visitor’s center and maintain the spacious gardens on a daily basis: really inspirational.
The castle park is easy to reach from Amsterdam and attracts a growing number of visitors in the past years. Its surroundings are currently also being rebuilt (for example, distracting flat buildings will be removed) to present this lovely place at its full beauty.
“Wonderland” exposition is the initiative of ISOO, the photography center of the IJmond region, together with the Assumburg Castle Gardens Volunteers Foundation. The theme of the exhibition is the resilience of nature. The exposition features works by 16 artists: Laurence Aërgerter, Danielle van Ark, Sêma Bekirovic, Wout Berger, Noor Damen, Desirée Dolron, Driessens & Verstappen, Carla Ellens, Stijn Elshuis, Eva-Fiore Kovakovsky, Andre van Noord, Olga Rook, Lotte Stekelenburg/Suze Peters, Eric Tourneret, Marisca Voskamp and Daimon Xanthopoulos. The expo is curated by Jaap Velserboer.
It is my first experience with an outdoor exhibition, and I am impressed to see how different forms of presentation and mediums work together with the landscape of the garden reflecting on the theme of nature’s strength: from photographs displayed in the gardens, on the central pond and floating on water, to projections and video art.
My work at the gardens includes six images from the “Florals/Memories of Paradise” series. They present fritillaries, protea flowers and quail eggs in the fragility and strength of their beauty, both individually and interconnected. These images are inspired by the Dutch Golden Age masters, and I believe they fit well into the esthetics of a re-created baroque garden. I also like how the format of the images makes one look at each flower as a portrait, a personality.
The exhibition was opened on April, 28th, and although a cold rainy day was predicted, it attracted a lot a visitors. The exposition will run till 27 of October, and you are most welcome to visit it. The park is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM (and on Fridays till 9 PM), and the entry is free.