Botanical studies and historical digressions by Žilvinas Kropas

In his new series Embodied Extinction the artist returns to the source of the ancient, simple photography techniques, raising the subject of the origins of photography. 

The exceptional creative signature of Žilvinas Kropas has been visible for the majority of Lithuanian photography admirers.  In his new series Embodied Extinction the artist returns to the source of the ancient, simple photography techniques, raising the subject of the origins of photography. 

Before beginning an in-depth analysis of the creative work, I would like to note the most important facts from the artist‘s biography. Žilvinas Kropas is an educator and a creator of alternative photography who lives and works in Panevėžys. Since 2012 he has been a member of Panevėžys Photography Association, since 2017 his work has been represented by “Art Gallery of Gabrielė” (Kaunas). In 2019 he was awarded the status of Art Creator by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, and in 2020 Žilvinas Kropas became a member of Lithuanian Photography Association. The artist arranges personal exhibitions and is an active participant in collective exhibitions; his photographs have been exhibited in Lithuania, Poland, United Kingdom, South Korea, Vietnam, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Belarus, etc. The creative work of Žilvinas Kropas is extensively covered in the cultural press of Lithuania, USA, France, Spain, Mexico, etc.

The newest photography cycle Embodied Extinction talks to the viewer by questioning the temporality and fragility of the world. The photographs display prints of plants the artist himself compares metaphorically with maps:

[…] a leave of a plant presented as a map is a purposeful choice. It is a material that mirrors perfectly the cycle of life, the transformations of time and space. […] The leaf-map symbolizes nature, the transformation of which is impossible to resist. 

Notably, maps exist because of the natural necessity to mark the boundaries, which helps us to define the identity of the environment or our own identity within specific, shifting geographical coordinates.

The prints of leaves created by Žilvinas Kropas encourage a romantic reflection on the human need to mark the sea currents, the underwater rocks, the contours of shores, the lowlands and the highlands. Maps demonstrate the necessity to mark things that relate to human activities. As Sikora Adam (b.1960) puts it:

[…] graphic representation is important not for perceiving some secret essence of being, but for taking the world into one‘s hands and overcoming it, so that it could satisfy human needs. 

Thus, the visual study of plant leaves performed by Kropas is like mapping the time of the past that we read (similarly to most other works of art) intuitively, without searching for logic. 

Allusions to maps provoke discussion about the graphic expression of communication that is profusely developed in the contemporary field of information design. Informational graphics may be perceived as transmission of information through vivid artistic means. One thing is clear, interesting as information may be, people understand it better and faster when it is expressed visually. In this way universal graphic symbols emerge and the traditions of graphic representation develop progressively. Therefore, reflecting on the strategy of Žilvinas Kropas‘ artistic language and regarding his new cycle of works we may turn to the concept of mapping.

Notably, Kropas‘ prints of plants (especially flowers) deserve specific attention of the viewer. The essential question here is why are we fascinated by the images of plants? In natural habitats the function of the plant flower is purely reproductive. During the billions of years of existence more than 400 000 species of flowering plants have developed. They compete among themselves, attracting the attention of insects with different colours, forms and scents. In human culture flowers are meant to express emotions, to enhance emotional balance, to better the impression of the residential or other space. Plants are also used in the production of perfume, medicines and food. But most interestingly, it is considered that because of their form, colour and scent some flowers as well as their whole foliage resemble edible fruits. It is that what causes our fascination with plants, even those that are imprinted in the photographic images of Kropas. 

The physicist David Deutsch (b. 1953) thinks that admiration with plant structures is conditioned by the objective category of beauty, i.e. the viewer is attracted to the harmony of colours, forms of leaves and their fractal structure. Though plants are perceived individually, their images encourage the creation of culturally-socially engaged signs, disseminating them via artworks. For hundreds of years artists elaborated on the symbolical meanings of various forms of plants, continually verifying and transforming the meaning of a particular plant in fine arts. 

The methodical and consistent art language of Žilvinas Kropas, developed for a number of years, verifies the phenomenon of herbarium. Notably, however, the artist does not make any particular emphasis on this concept. Herbariums belong to botanical studies.  

The oldest botanical illustrations are dated first century BC. The Greek physicist Krateus was the first to begin drawing images of plants in precise detail. This practice was continued and perfected in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The richest heritage of botanical studies comes from 1750-1850. This period is considered the golden age of botanical illustration. The most famous authors are Joseph Banks (1743 – 1820) and Pierre Joseph Redouté (1759 – 1840). They travelled the world and registered every plant they would see, studying plants in a scientific manner and introducing the newly discovered species on their return to Europe.

The essence of botanical illustrations that Žilvinas Kropas reverts to is a unique image of every single plant. But contrarily to the classics of herbariums, the artist does not attempt to eliminate the defects of the leaves (their wrinkles, holes, etc). Like the artists of the eighteenth – nineteenth centuries, Kropas studies many samples of the plant, registering them attentively in photographic images that formulate the typology of plant transformation, in this way producing a peculiar cartography of time and space.  

In this manner, space and time, stability and fragility intertwine in the works of Žilvinas Kropas like in maps. Following Edmund Husserl (1859 – 1938) it is possible to claim that photography shows that time which is rationalized by consciousness is not the same time in which it lives. Photography allows us to be in two spaces at the same time – that of the image and that of the reality. 

Kropas’ photographs display the prints of plants that existed in an earlier reality. Following the theory of Jacques Derrida (1930 –2004) it is possible to claim that the images of the plants seem to splinter off from a past that existed, remain in the prints and insert themselves into our time/ space. The works of Kropas are like a conscious, visual and intellectual game of being – non-being. On the other hand, photography registers everything like a scientific report based on facts, in which we encounter formerly alive structures that cannot change anymore. 

Photographic images present everything in a manner different from memories which may be moulded in any way in relation to space and time. Photographs revive the time of the past in the moment of the present. 

In this creative cycle of Žilvinas Kropas photography performs the role of a certain time machine – it revives a different epoch and transfers it into ours, even though we continue with our lives and their unique directions. The images display everything that is sensed in reality and at the same time in nature. Objects and forms in reality seem to flow and, according to Plato, there are no primary materials that would resist division and formation of new objects. Jostein Gaarder (b. 1952) puts it as follows:

[…] Absolutely everything that belongs to the “material world” is made of a material that time can erode.

Photography proves us that space exists as if full of atoms that continually move, collide, unite and are divided. Photography brings temporality to a halt and at the same time proves its existence. 

Though Walter Benjamin (1892 – 1940) claimed that photography as a form of mechanical reproduction destroys the aura of an artwork, yet he did not preview the technological and aesthetic change of photography, where contemporary artists would ask about the aura of photography. Paradoxically, yet I am confident that Žilvinas Kropas’ return to the ancient photographic techniques is to a certain extent a return to the question of what is the genuine aura of photography. In this way it is a return to the objective reality, which opens up like a given through human senses.  

The objective reality seems to exist separately, but photography connects it to us quite intuitively. In this case the world is not just a totality of sensual experiences. Contrary to the majority of contemporary culture consumers, Žilvinas Kropas demonstrates that he cares about the input of previous generations into the visual narrative, the ratio between the form and the contents revealed through the mastery of technology and image creation. That is why, probably, Kropas withdraws himself from the photography that uses the universally accepted popular codes, where images try to accumulate as much popularity as possible. Here we may remember Guy Debord (1931 – 1994) who related popularity to power and industrial production of images; he believed that the necessity to seek after commercial success turns an artist into a puppet of the image industry.

Without doubt, the artistic work of Žilvinas Kropas is very deep. By means of photography the artist returns to the question of identity. He makes us regard a photograph and ask about the Dasein, the existence (what is depicted here, what participates here, what remains here and what is already usurped by the past?)

Finally, Žilvinas Kropas’ self-analytical insights state that the images of leaves demonstrated on the photographic planes are metaphorically testing the temporariness of the world, states, cities, where finally the world itself turns out to be a merely temporary stop. The temporariness is introduced by the magical process of chlorophyl photography, during which the image seems to transfer itself inside the plant and take over it without any camera, any usual photo-chemistry or photo-paper; in this way photography itself remains somewhere beyond photo… As not all plants allow foreign bodies into themselves, new questions arise (why, how, what for?)… [text: prof. Dr. Remigijus Venckus –Humanitarian sciences, Art criticism (03H). Art history (H310)]

1- Kropas, Ž. (2020-11-05). E-mail to R. Venckus about creation of photography.

2 – Sikora, A. (2001). Susitikimas su filosofija: nuo Herakleito iki Huserlio (A Meeting With Philosophy: From Heraclitus to Husserl). Vilnius: Аlma littera, 226 (transl. from Polish by Jūratė Skersytė).

3- See the same.

4- Gottesman, S. (2017). A Brief History of Flowers in Western Art. www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-van-gogh-okeeffe-art-historys-famous-flowers (accessed 2020-11-09). 

5- Rubene, M. (1995). Dabarties filosofija: iš esaties į esatį (The Philosophy of the Present). Vilnius: Alma Littera, 12; (transl. from Latvian by Renata Zajančkauskaitė).

6- See Venckus. R. (2014). Jacques’o Derrida dekonstrukcijos taikymas videomeno tyrimui (Jacques Derrida Deconstruction Theory In Video Art Analysis). Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademija, Lietuvos kultūros tyrimų institutas. 

7- See Jostein, G. (2018). Sofijos pasaulis (Sophie’s World). Vilnius: Тyto Alba, 77; (transl. from Norwegian by Eglė Išganaitytė).

8- See Roterdamus, Е. (2011). Pagiriamasis žodis kvailybei. Vilnius: Vaga, 12; (transl. from Latin by Merkelis Račkauskas). 

9- See Brown, S., Collinson, D., Wilkinson, R. (Ed.), (1998). One Hundred Twentieth-Century Philosophers. Routledge: London, New York, 17.

10- See Debord, G. (2006). Spektaklio visuomenė (The Society of the Spectacle). Vilnius: Kitos knygos, p. 20; (transl. from French by Dainius Gintalas).

11- A category defining existence in Martin Heidegger’s existential philosophy; see Heidegger, M. (2014) Būtis ir laikas (Being and Time). Vilnius: Technika; (transl. from German by Tomas Kačerauskas). Also see Rubene, M. (1995). Dabarties filosofija: iš esaties į esatį (The Philosophy of the Present). Vilnius: Alma Littera, 301; (transl. from Latvian by Renata Zajančkauskaitė).

12- Kropas, Ž. (2020-11-05). E-mail to R. Venckus about photographic creation.

More Stories

Street photography; Hong Kong Lines and Patterns by Jason Au

Street photography; Hong Kong Lines and Patterns by Jason Au

"Hong Kong Lines and Patterns" is a street photography series that comes with a fine art aesthetic and the compositional approach of isolating urban subjects, geometric elements and forms fromthe chaotic urban environment of Hong Kong.
Real vs Unreal by Kaushik Dolui

Real vs Unreal by Kaushik Dolui

Photographs of this trend create a reality that does not reflect reality, but prompted by subconscious, characteristics, the expression of unconscious fantasies. Something like unnatural, supernatural and mysterious.
Cronorifugio

Cronorifugio

Light and time. These two essential concepts in photography are also fundamental for our being and in our life. Here and now, I feel that the time has come to talk about the time.

Color Awards

We invite you to participate in the first edition
of the Color Awards. We are looking
for the best color picture for this year, 2022.

The competition is open to any interpretation of color photography
in all its dimensions, from everyday reality
to pure abstraction

DEADLINE | FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2022

PHOTO BY © DANIIL KONTOROVICH
Sahara Giants by Alice de Kruijs

Sahara Giants by Alice de Kruijs

When in 2000, the palaeontologist Paul Sereno went to look for new dinosaur bones in the Sahara Desert, he did not expect that he would return from there as an archaeologist. Arriving in the northeast of Niger, Sereno and his colleague’s day after day sifted through the sand of Tener, one of the most inhospitable deserts in the world, which even the nomadic inhabitants of the Sahara call “desert in the desert”.
Tell me who I am by Mohammad Sorkhabi

Tell me who I am by Mohammad Sorkhabi

Segregation by gender has existed in highly conservative communities for years, in order to raise their children in an isolated environment and away from any sort of sexual relations. But in most cases, this only causes sexual suppression and severe disorders in sexual orientation identification.
Interview with Alain Schroeder; published in our print edition #20

Interview with Alain Schroeder; published in our print edition #20

Belgian photojournalist Alain Schroeder has been working in the industry for over four decades. First as a sports photographer in the 80s, then shooting book assignments and editorial pieces in art, culture and human stories.

Featured Stories

Baikal of wonders by Alina Desyatnichenko

Baikal of wonders by Alina Desyatnichenko

The land of Baikal region in Russia has always been sacred for the local indigenous peoples – buryats. And shamans who could talk to local gods were revered as a hereditary caste of the chosen.
Portraits of Tertius Alio

Portraits of Tertius Alio

My name is Daniil Kontorovich, also be exhibited under the name of Tertius Alio, which translated from Latin means the observer or grated face.
Jorge Fernandez ; Travel Photography

Jorge Fernandez ; Travel Photography

Jorge Fernandez was born and raised in the small Spanish town of Monzon. After finishing high school he moved to Madrid to get a technical engineering degree. In the late 90's he started to study film photography during a few years and after that he decided to do the jump to digital
Michael David Adams ; Fashion photography

Michael David Adams ; Fashion photography

Michael David Adams’ Fashion photography has taken him around the world from beautiful Caribbean islands and breathtaking coast of Mexico, to exquisite European destinations like Paris, Venice, Nice, and Croatia to name a few..
Still Beating by Tom Chambers

Still Beating by Tom Chambers

Narrative Art refers to visual imagery which tells stories, engages the imagination, and stirs the emotions. These stories transcend culture and are relatable to all.
Pets photography; Wet Dog by Sophie Gamand

Pets photography; Wet Dog by Sophie Gamand

Sophie Gamand is a French photographer living and working in New York. Since 2011, with both a documentary and artistic approaches,
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/color-banner.jpg

We invite you to participate in the first edition of the Color Awards. We are eager to see photograhs with new focus points and innovative approaches

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/BAnImage.jpg

ImageRights provides intelligent image search and copyright enforcement services to photo agencies and professional photographers worldwide.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/banner.jpg

The book where words and images meet to never leave each other, The book contains 20 evocative paintings; each of them is a double page. 56 printed pages | 235x165mm

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/banner22.jpg

Call For Entries #21 | After 20 editions and more than 100 published photographers, our print edition has proven to be a simply effective promotional channel.

Fetish Ballad by MagLau

Fetish Ballad by MagLau

MagLau has just released his new book Fetish Ballad with German publisher Verlag Kettler. It is the result of a three years' road trip into the underground world of Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels and Berlin.
Time To Rush Home by David Nam Lip

Time To Rush Home by David Nam Lip

This portfolio is specifically captured an environment with expression of muslim people after they completed the congregation of the Bishwa Ijtema at Tongi, Bangladesh.
Japanese Aquariums by George Nobechi

Japanese Aquariums by George Nobechi

Japanese Aquariums is a journey into some of my oldest, most treasured childhood memories. Whenever I visited my grandparents in the small, northern Japanese city of Otaru, my grandfather, a high school teacher and an enormous influence in my life, would take me to the aquarium.
Afromexican healers by Annick Donkers

Afromexican healers by Annick Donkers

At the end of last year my attention was drawn to the coastal region of Guerrero known as Costa Chica, located to the south of Acapulco.
Everybody Counts by Erlend Mikael Saeverud

Everybody Counts by Erlend Mikael Saeverud

Erlend wanted to ask him for a portrait, but he didn't dare. This became the inspiration for this project.
Window Project by Davida Carta

Window Project by Davida Carta

This project was not born as a cohesive body of work. In fact, it surfaced from an editing process during my first semester of residency at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where I am currently studying to get my MFA in Photography.

Trending Stories

Haiti – The Ongoing Struggle by Giles Clarke

Haiti – The Ongoing Struggle by Giles Clarke

The last 230 years of Haiti's history, from the days of Napoleonic slavery and the ensuing 'black revolution', is a struggle etched deep into the soul of the Haitian people. In 1804, after years of colonial fighting and over 120,000 slave deaths
Stone carvings of Keshana by Abhishek Nandy

Stone carvings of Keshana by Abhishek Nandy

Stone carvings of Orissa dates back to the 9th century and was contemporary to the Kalinga school of medieval Indian architecture. The state of Orissa in India is known for its rich cultural and artistic inheritance.
Herbarium of Summer Memories by Maja Strgar Kurečić

Herbarium of Summer Memories by Maja Strgar Kurečić

These photos symbolize the warmth of a summer day, the carefreeness and beauty of the little things in life. Each plant in these photos carries a memory of the summer spent on the Adriatic.
Five minutes with Ronny Behnert

Five minutes with Ronny Behnert

I can say that I always took photos as often as I was able too. Practicing photography with all your passion all the time is the best way to find your own style.
The Beauty at the river Bank Padma by Mohammad Rahman

The Beauty at the river Bank Padma by Mohammad Rahman

The riverscape of Bangladesh tells the story about the natural beauty of Bangladesh. The mood, artistic appeal, loneliness, solitude, and tranquillity of our riverscape
Photo Shoot; Glamorous gunpowder by Ledokollov

Photo Shoot; Glamorous gunpowder by Ledokollov

The city is like a jungle, here you need make a choice: you can be a victim or choose the path of a hunter or you can be nobody, walk the streets, eating a sandwich, looking blankly in front of you and think that today is very similar to yesterday.
Spiritual Mask by Arunima Mondal

Spiritual Mask by Arunima Mondal

The ecstatic Gomira dance masks of Dinajpur district have ensued from animistic practices of the Desi and Poli communities of the Rajbangshis. Every village has its own Gomira dance troupe.
Frontiers by Sandrine Arons

Frontiers by Sandrine Arons

Frontiers offers a visual representation of my experience of multiculturalism, depicting an inner world of multiple languages, religions and cultural landscapes embedded in the mind as fragmented memories in search of wholeness.
Wozu by Dongwook Lee

Wozu by Dongwook Lee

As seen in the plato’s allegory of the cave, all of us are constantly caught between  fictions and realities, battling on the thin line between pleasure and pain.

Other Stories

stay in touch
Join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest stories, opportunities, calls and more.
We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use
We’d love to
Thank you for subscribing!
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted.
- Between 10/30 images of your best images, in case your project contains a greater number of images which are part of the same indivisible body of work will also be accepted. You must send the images in jpg format to 1200px and 72dpi and quality 9. (No borders or watermarks)
- A short biography along with your photograph. (It must be written in the third person)
- Title and full text of the project with a minimum length of 300 words. (Texts with lesser number of words will not be accepted)
This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Contact
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Get in Touch
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact hello@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.