Florilegia is a group exhibition featuring photographic works by Goldschmied & Chiari, Fabio Zonta, Jonny Briggs, Laura Letinsky, and Sinaida Michalskaja. In medieval Latin a florilegium is a compilation of texts, the word deriving from flos (flower) and leger (to gather). In keeping with this title, the exhibition brings together a selection of works in which flowers or plants feature, each work offering a distinctive take on sociological and poetic encounters between art and nature.
The exhibition includes Goldschmied & Chiari’s Nympheas (2007), large-scale panoramic photographs deliberately and playfully evoking Claude Monet’s paintings. Subverting the idyllic, unpolluted view of nature offered by the Impressionists, the flowers in Goldschmied & Chiari’s works are made of plastic bags, floating amongst the litter in the Tiber River, Rome. Sara Goldschmied (1975) and Eleonora Chiari (b.1971) have been working as an artistic duo since 2001 under the name goldiechiari, living and working in Rome. A solo exhibition of their work has recently toured to Centre d’Art Contemporaine Passerelle, Brest (France) and Villa Croce, Museum of Contemporary Art, Genova (Italy).
The exhibition also includes a selection of works from Laura Letinsky’s To Want For Nothing, Hardly More Than Ever and To Say It Isn’t So series. These photographs show elegiac arrangements of objects on tables - wilting flowers and petals, food, candle, and pottery. These photographs allude to an unseen human presence and are reminiscent of 17th Century Dutch vanitas. Work by Letinsky (b. 1962) has been exhibited at Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; Casino Luxembourg; Galerie m Bochum, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nederlands Foto Institute; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago amongst others.
Sinaida Michalskaja’s works are a series of large-scale photographs of windows. Each image presents a partially obscured interior and a reflection of the external world. Taking inspiration from the metaphorical and symbolic value of the window, these works show both the domesticated nature inside and a glimpse of untamed nature outside – mediated by the window frame. Moscow born Michalskaja (b.1985) lives and works in London. She recently graduated from Central Saint Martins, London with an MA in Fine Art Photography. Her work has previously been included in exhibitions in the US, Italy, Germany and the UK.
Jonny Briggs's staged photographs of flowers in domestic settings initially appear to fake or photoshopped. The show a vase, flowers and backdrop painted magnolia, and another vase with the flowers in the base and the roots on display. These works are part of an ongoing series by Briggs in which he explores the constructed reality of the family, and the boundaries between child and adult; nature and culture; and real and fake. Briggs (b.1985) lives and works in London. He graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2011 with an MA in Fine Art and his work has been included in exhibitions at The Photographer’s Gallery, Saatchi Gallery and Zabludowicz Collection amongst others.