Henny Acloque, Phillip Allen, Kate Bickmore, Francesca Blomfield, Rachael Champion, Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh, Cecilia Charlton, Michael Coppelov, Chris GilvanCartwright, Erin Hughes, Johnny Izatt-Lowry, Hun Kyu Kim, Hiu Tung Lau, Alessandro Leggio, Clarissa Lim, T. D. MacGregor, Goia Mujalli, Oliver Mulvihill, Lydia Pettit, Robert Reedy, Lex Shute, Jack Sutherland, Yasemin Topcam, Dorus Tossijn, Sarah Tew, Adia Wahid
Curated by Pinch Project
In Poland, there is a story about bees. The bees work all summer harvesting pollen. There is one lone bee who has the audacity to collect pollen not for consumption or physical sustenance, but to create paintings of flowers inside the walls of the hive. She uses the flowers to paint flowers. Punished and accused of being lazy, it is said that she is not contributing adequately to the community through her artistic endeavours. She is subsequently banished. Winter arrives and all the bees are driven indoors. Suddenly they see the lone bee’s flowers in a different way; in the long winter months, the wall paintings offer a restorative effect which sustains the colony through until the springtime.
Gardens provide places not only to gaze upon the perfection that we find in flowers, but they also allow us a space to be free from earthly weights and toils. As fantasy novelist Peter S. Beagle says of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, gardens let us find “erotic derangement that turns us all into voyeurs, a place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect liberty”. This exhibition attempts to capture that sense through contemporary art, and to celebrate the rogue bees within us who strive to create purpose that others may not recognize in its own time.
Irish gardener William Robinson, opposed to the highly cultivated gardens of the Victorian era aimed to “never to show the naked Earth, but to carpet it with dwarf subjects then allow taller ones to rise in their own wild way through the turf.” Their own wild way!
And yet, life is not all a garden. As Thomas Campion declares in his poem And Would You See My Mistress’ Face?, “all is work and nowhere space”. This is a sentiment to which we, as urban artists, can all relate. Too much work, too little time, not enough space. We cram ourselves, literally and metaphysically, into tiny pockets of space, and time, wherein we attempt to grow our garden. Harnessing the history of mavericks like William Robinson or our little bee friend we surge forward.
And would you see my mistress’ face?
It is a flowery garden place,
Where knots of beauties have such grace
That all is work and nowhere space.
It is a sweet delicious morn,
Where day is breeding, never born;
It is a meadow yet unshorn
Which thousand flowers do adorn.
It is the heaven’s bright reflex,
Weak eyes to dazzle and to vex;
It is th’ Idea of her sex,
Envy of whom doth world perplex
It is a face of death that smiles,
Pleasing though it kills the whiles,
Where death and love in pretty wiles
Each other mutually beguiles.
It is fair beauty’s freshest youth,
It is the feigned Elysium’s truth,
The spring that wintered hearts reneweth;
And this is that my soul pursueth.
14th June – 13th July 2019