Paolo Topy Rossetto Photographer - Gift

GIFT 2015


 This piece allows us to see a few poppies in a plain vase lying on the grass. The flowers are actually one of those ready-made bouquets you can find easily and cheaply in gift shops. The image is ambiguous. The recipient’s verticality depends on the artist’s position when the shot was taken. A closer look reveals that the vase is made of plastic and that it doesn’t hold any water – that essential element for life – not because it is lying on, or rather was knocked to, the ground, but because it never contained any. The flowers are artificial. They don’t need it. Which means that, above and beyond their shape and color, certain aspects of poppies’ charm and beauty – i.e. the briefness of their blossoming and their extreme fragility – were seen by the manufacturer as nothing more than problems to solve. His challenge? Offering flowers that normally bloom only in spring for sale all year long, at an attractive price that allows him to generate as much profit as possible, by resolving storage, handling and distribution issues. All of which he achieved brilliantly. Yet his achievement is in fact a disaster. This image questions our relationship to nature. The symbolic, and above all, commercial value of the bouquet, an item meant as a gift, has superseded the more profound values of nature and life. A natural life is priceless precisely because it is brief and fragile, and a few poppies by the side of the road symbolize that beautifully. The admiration and emotion caused naturally by unassuming flowers have been erased here by the somewhat foolish admiration we might feel when faced with a technical achievement like this one. In this image, life has found refuge in what seems at first glance like nothing more than the background, the setting. We reconnect with real life via the grass whose vocation is to be trod upon, and which constitutes the background to the image. Each and every one of those blades of grass, no matter how unassuming, is worth more than any artificial bouquet, no matter how attractive it may be.

Yves Peltier

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