Bloomed: Edelweiss
Bloomed: Edelweiss
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video 1

Bloomed: Edelweiss

2016
Leontopodium nivale
Leontopodium nivale
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A small perennial composite herb native to the Alps and other Eurasian mountains, edelweiss is a symbol of purity and inaccessibility. The German translation of the word "edelweiss" literally means "noble and white", clearly reflecting the plant's physical characteristics of woolly-white floral leaves and small heads of yellow disk flowers surrounded by silvery bracts. The flower's limited lifespan and remote habitation has inspired folklore of alpine inhabitants to associate edelweiss with national prestige.

The edelweiss' peculiar proportions form the basis of a series of animated encounters with the piece. Affected by the viewer's movement, the petals begin to dance and oscillate in a manner which is quite surreal, almost as if they were in an enchanted state. Once the viewer walks away, one might catch a glimpse of the cold frost creeping into the edges of the artwork's screen, an homage to the flower's native environment.

"Jan Van Huysum (active in the 17th and 18th centuries) was one of the greatest painters of still life, and specialised in the skilled representation of flowers. In the National Gallery’s Flowers in a Terracotta Vase (1736) the eye roves across a static landscape of flowers, the painter imbues life and vivacity in the work with the addition of butterflies, flies and the bowing, curling, explosion of  stems that support the flower heads, almost all of which are in full bloom – timed to open like a synchronised firework. Here and there, a droplet falls. The grapes and peaches feel ripe and good enough to eat. As we further inspect the piece, things begin to take on a surreal twist, the perspective feels strange, like the vase is sliding into the background, the small nest of eggs feels glued on and all the insects are suspended in animation, or posed as if nothing will take flight.

Harris’ Bloomed Wall (2017) pays homage to this genre of still life painting. In these works, the artist fully embraces the surreal, anachronistic nature of the arrangement of many different varieties of flower in coordinated bloom. Unlike in nature the flowers are made to last, rather than a real-life simulation they are caricatures, an abstraction of the real thing. The flowers sway and react to the viewer’s movements as if attached to springs, jostling for position, docking themselves like spaceships into their position on the grid, petals open and close but never fall from the stem. In some ways, it is the logical conclusion of a still life genre which aimed to capture the ecstatic moment of the hyper-real bloom than any perceived objective reality."

Extract from
essay by Sunny Cheung

Year:

2016

Edition:

Edition of 8 + 2 Artist Proofs + 2 Museum Proofs

Materials:

Code, software, display screen, electronics, sensor, aluminium, acrylic

Details:

Dimensions in MM:

Small:
286 (W) x 342 (H) x 72 (D) mm

Dimensions in INCHES:

Small:
11.2 (W) x 13.5 (H) x 2.8 (D) inches