Sunday, 20 March 2016

Flowers that fall from the sky

St Christopher's Place, WC1 

A Break in the Weather, detail, work in progress

As Samuel Johnson didn't quite say, if you're tired of London you haven't set your sights high enough. Above the traffic fumes and the heads of tourists is a delightfully quirky capital waiting to be discovered if you only glance up.*

St Christopher's Place

Nowhere was this more true, if only for a very few days (March 17-20), than in St Christopher's Place, nestling between Bond Street and Marylebone High Street. Look up and, tumbling from the sky, were thousands of real flowers.

It's as if the goddess Flora, currently in town and starring in Botticell Reimagined at the V&A, had wafted over from South Kensington on a zephyr's breath to bestow her bounty on the shoppers scurrying across the square and drinking coffee in the pavement cafes, only for her scattered blooms to become caught up on the overhead wires of the modern city.

Botticelli, the Birth of Venus, detail

Because, of course, the flowers never fell to the ground, having been strung between buildings in a delightful display by the floral installation artist Rebecca Louise Law to celebrate the start of spring.

St Christopher's Place installation by Rebecca Louise Law

I have written before about my love of flowers and of the sky, and when the two combine I am on cloud nine. Here's one I made earlier.

The Poisoned Heart, detail, 2011

Looking back recently at my old sketchbooks, I found some quick collages and sketches from about 12 years ago that have been knocking around in my subconscious ever since.

And here's another one from 2007 that I rediscovered only this evening while searching for something else entirely.

And a sketchbook piece from the same year that I put together after visiting the White Cube exhibition of work by Fred Tomaselli, whose intricate, exuberant, colourful and druggy collages of magazine cut-outs are a somewhat more more troubling vision of flowers in the sky.

Now these fragments have come together in another sky quilt, A Break in the Weather, one of my pieces for this summer's Prism exhibition

Fabric sample for A Break in the Weather,
referencing Fred Tomaselli

Having previously read in The Cloudspotter's Guide about "cloud seeding", a technique whereby "seeds" of ice or silver iodide are introduced into clouds to make them rain, I posed myself  the question: "What would happen if  flower seeds were used instead?" For a small sneak preview, see top of the page.

Do come along to the show in Hoxton, East London, in June. And on your way, don't forget to look up....

* To pick at random a few of my favourite above-eye-level surprises: Barbara Hepworth's Winged Figure on the facade of John Lewis in Oxford Street; Green Man faces along Bond Street; a lighthouse on a rooftop in King's Cross; Tube carriages that aren't going anywhere on top of a building in Shoreditch. Look up  Look Up London's blog and walking tours to discover many more.

1 comment:

  1. Great Post, Valerie. Can't wait for my next London visit now you have told me where to look. Your current work looks exciting.