The reason why the show at Painswick Rococo Garden has been cancelled is that their partners pulled out over a conflict with a reality television programme leaving them no choice but to cancel.
What a shame!
I am now waiting for my bags to be shipped back to me.
The work’s title was going to be: ‘LATE FROST’
I am posting its brief statement and project proposal just to tingle your imagination of what it could have been!
ART IN THE GARDEN PROJECT PROPOSAL & STATEMENT CLAUDIA BORGNA
Title: “LATE FROST: An outdoor temporary sculpture”
Large and conspicuous. Glossy. White. Evergreen.
Once considered special: a luxury, now just another commodity.
Grown in the thousands for horticulture and commercial purposes yet rare in its natural range is considered a threatened species mainly due to its habitat destruction.
Acid soil, rich humus and large amounts of water are what it needs to live. Like human beings it doesn’t tolerate drought.
From East Asia all the way to Verdi’s Traviata and Dumas’ lady, from colonization to globalization, this ornamental plant is witness to a great deal of our modern and consumerist history.
Its extended family now includes a new species only to be seen at Art in the Garden.
I am talking about giant white Camellias made out of recycled plastic bags. They’re up to 10 feet tall.
Bare white stems hold onto large reclining corollas. Like umbrellas their diameters reach 5 feet of width. Sparse white leaves sprout up their one-only stalk.
The flower’s structure is beautifully simple. Rebar poles wrapped up in white plastic make the stems, while plastic bags and metal wire are moulded into the corolla’s petals and leaves.
A little colony of nine camellia-like-flowers will grow in the forest just off the path’s edge. Seven of them will be set on one side of the woods’ trail and the remaining two will stand aside on the other (please see photo for exact location).
Although they will be swaying in the air powered by the wind, their roots will be anchored into the ground (possibly in some cement poured inside a black bin bag to make sure they do not to contaminate the soil).
I will need two days approximately to install the camellias.
The rebar poles are to be ordered and delivered to the site. The corollas and leaves I will have made separately and will carry them with me. In loco I will then assemble the different parts.
All together the intention of the artwork is to complement the existing landscape with fairy-like elements that can suggest a story.
The camellias will blend in as well as stand out from their temporary borrowed surroundings creating a fable-like scenery where nature and culture can briefly coexist in a world of art and poetry.
This short-lived marriage is to raise a series of questions on the relationship between nature and us.
While nature is the continuous source of our culture, can we transform our culture into nature?
Further to this, how ethical is my artwork? Is it another selfish act of exploitation in the name of art? Am I just contributing to diminish the value of both nature and art? And in the end will beauty really save the world like Dostoyevsky proclaimed? And if so what kind of beauty is it going to be?
As much as I try to be mindfully conscious and discrete I will inevitably disturb the balance of an ecosystem affecting it with my artwork if not just by digging a hole into the ground.
Ultimately roots can only be replaced with cement and leaves and petals with plastic bags because I cannot substitute nature but only try to complement it in the most respectful way possible.
Nature and plastic bags both overlooked and taken for granted come together in this occasion to stand out again, distinguish themselves and claim back their special uniqueness while also creating a tension of contradictory values and clashing realities.
Camellias: mirrors of our volatile moods and landscapes witnesses of human anxieties. Ever-changing landscapes destroyed and revived into new forms. Landscapes created by the insatiable need for innovation.