Thursday, March 24, 2011

Miniature World

How do you say, petite? These happen to be images of miniature dioramas, or realities, as the artist Dan Ohlmann likes to refer to them. My husband and I discovered Ohlmann's Musée Des Miniatures et Decors de Cinema in the old part of Lyon a couple of years ago and were astounded at the quality of his work we saw there. He had many miniature displays, but I am only spotlighting the library and the print shop here. Each set is about the size of your average microwave and built with exquisite attention to detail. Earlier in his career, Ohlmann worked as a sculptor and interior designer, and later did a lot of work for the theater and movie industry which became a perfect training ground for creating miniature sets. For the past 20 years or so, he has almost entirely devoted himself to the creation of these miniatures with the aid of a crew of skilled artists who assist him. Viewing his beautiful miniature sets gave me chills and a feeling of voyeurism as if I were stepping into a frame frozen in time where you can smell the ink on the press and see the paint peeling off the wall. There are no people in any of his motionless realities as Ohlmann prefers to have the viewer enter each room with their mind. These are 3D snapshots of an earlier era, complete with dramatic lighting and the faded colors of an old postcard. I was speechless just scrutinizing every tiny detail. 

The first two images above are of an old library. All the muddy images with glass glare are my own. The  2nd photo above is from the Museums' own website. The images below are of the old print shop. What was curious to me about this print shop is there are a couple of old type cabinets for setting metal type by hand, but the shop appears to only have offset presses. Maybe they were just in that transition stage of updating equipment? I do love the handcart of finished press sheets and the stacks of piled paper in the back room. More images of Ohlmanns' miniature creations can be seen on this flickr site.

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