Flora: A Frozen English Garden presents artist Marisa Culatto’s Flora series of 35 works featuring plant life that has been composed, frozen and then photographed in the manner of a classic still life. Each work includes a text by botanical researcher and gardener Eduardo Barba and a watercolour illustration by Anna Tiulkina.
Culatto’s Flora includes 35 works, each featuring a selection of plant life that has been composed, frozen and then photographed in the manner of a classic still life. There is a conscious act of staging but also an element of chance encounter to these works as the artist restricted herself to collecting the vegetation she came across on walks or in the day-to-day tasks of her daily life. As a consequence, each still life features plants that were found near one another and in a specific part of the world, such as the South East of England.
The conceptual intention addresses beauty, the loss of it, and the vain attempt to hold on to it. Through these works, Culatto tries to understand and accept the value of fading youth; Flora is her personal way of exploring and coming to terms with it. Ultimately, this body of work also speaks of the very act of photography: to freeze the moment.
Flora: A Frozen English Garden is presented in 35 chapters – one for each work in the Flora series. In addition to the artwork itself, each section includes botanical content: Barba writes about a single plant from the relevant work and, as the plants in Flora are encased in ice and are not always clearly visible, Tiulkina’s illustration provides an accurate depiction of the chosen plant.
The book also includes a thorough introductory text by the internationally renowned contemporary art curator Greg Hilty, whose interest in the intersection of disciplines has spanned his tenures at the Hayward Gallery, Arts Council England and Lisson Gallery, where he has been the Curatorial Director since 2008.