Jan Gulfoss is a photographer and painter who is passionate about nature and the animal kingdom. Through his art, he creates another way of looking at the world, one which is more intimate and respectful of animals. The artist is also interested in the passing of time, using nostalgia and sepia colours in his pieces.
In an interview about the exhibition, Gulfoss said that he tries to sensitize the public, in a fun way, by creating a dream-like universe where harmony and silence rule. A world where we can sometimes find a monkey on a cow or an egret on a hippopotamus, a symbiotic harmony between animals and their settings. Connecting with nature is very important, and Gulfoss believes that we’ve been in the process of losing that connection for many years. Art is a fabulous way to restore that connection.
In order to achieve the striking and peaceful images from his most recent series, he creates a physical setting which he places his subjects in front of. He paints enormous backdrops with watercolours, puts animals in front of the backdrops and photographs them. To finish the images, he uses various methods he won’t reveal. A magician never reveals his secrets, he says.
Born in the Netherlands, he studied in Nice before embarking on adventures around the world, travelling to Iceland, Bhutan, Tasmania and Monaco. The Principality and the Oceanographic Museum in particular are crucial sources of inspiration for him.
One winter, decades ago, Gulfoss wound up at the Oceanographic Museum when it happened to be completely empty. He began by taking in the awe inspiring aquarium and then ascending up through the levels, seeing whale and dolphin skeletons in mise en scenes, much like his art today. He then went onto the terrace, still all alone, and looked down at a drop which plunges all the way to the ocean. The experience changed his life. Since 1974, when he first visited the Oceanographic Museum, he has seen it as his second studio.
Traces of the Principality are found in many of his pieces, currently on display until 24 November.