“When chivalry was still alive … flowers and poems were the only gifts exchanged by lovers... Every bouquet and garland was carefully composed according to its legendary meaning. Joy and grief, triumph and woe, admiration and gratitude, love and desire, every human sentiment had its floral emblem.” Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees, Ernst & Johanna Lehner, 1960.
Andipa Contemporary is proud to present The Secret Language of Flowers, a group exhibition showcasing the work of eight emerging artists with their own fresh and contemporary take on the age-old motif of the flower and its meaning in art and life today. Running from 12 May to 6 June 2011 at Andipa Gallery, Knightsbridge, the show coincides with the biggest international celebration of the flower: The Chelsea Flower Show, taking place a stone’s throw from the gallery.
Beginning with the very first still-life drawings, to Banksy’s Flower Thrower, the pop artist Andy Warhol’s early silkscreens of daisies and hibiscus blossoms and Lichtenstein’s Water Lilies, flowers have never ceased to seduce the artist with their delicacy, their transience and their riotous colour.
The term ‘the secret language of flowers’ was coined in the Victorian era when each genus of flower was classified as evocative of a certain feeling or emotion. Flowers were used to covertly convey messages of love or despair: the red tulip a profession of love, the marigold a declaration of pain and grief.
The artists in this exhibition have used flowers, infinite in their formal and symbolic potential, to express the relationship between art and life, nature and culture, beauty and consumption, survival and adaptation.
Constructed from atypical materials such as foreign currency, lace, bone ash and wax, artworks in The Secret Language of Flowers subvert the decorative function of flowers in art. Some of the artists comment on flowers as a stock subject or cliché, others explore the extent to which Nature’s unrestrained blooms are expressive of culture as a civilising force and others celebrate the beauty and power of natural colour.
We are also proud to announce that the internationally renowned performance artist Lynn Lu will be performing a piece conceived in response to The Secret Language of Flowers and specially commissioned by Andipa Contemporary. Lynn Lu has most recently performed in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, Mushashino Art University, Tokyo and Turbine Hall, Giswil, Switzerland.
Challenging how we look at and relate to flowers as a subject in art, the works in The Secret Language of Flowers concertedly demonstrate the potential of art to assign new meanings to everyday objects and transform our perspectives on the ordinary.
Notes to Editors: The Secret Language of Flowers is the first of a series of annual exhibitions planned by Andipa Contemporary exploring the flower in contemporary art.
Opening Times: Monday to Friday 9:30am – 6.00pm, Saturday 11.00am – 6.00pm
Andipa Gallery, 162 Walton Street, London, SW3 2JL Tel: 020 7589 2371 / www.andipa.com
Closest tube stations: Knightsbridge and South Kensington
The artists, Eliza Tan, Curator of Special Projects and Claire Mander, Head of Contemporary, are available for interviews.
About Andipa Contemporary
Following extensive refurbishment of the premises, Andipa Gallery launched Andipa Contemporary in late 2010 as a platform to show fresh, innovative and aesthetically stimulating work by new contemporaries from around the world.
Andipa Contemporary draws on the knowledge, experience and resources of Andipa Gallery to provide an exciting programme of exhibitions and events. Collecting contemporary art is a very unique experience and we welcome both those new to contemporary art and existing collectors to come into the gallery to discuss their preferences in a warm and open atmosphere.
Andipa Gallery is a specialist dealer in modern and contemporary masters ranging from Matisse, Picasso and Warhol, through to Damien Hirst and Banksy. Based in Knightsbridge for over 40 years, the gallery has a long-established reputation of providing clients with a high level of service in a relaxed, welcoming environment.