“THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS”, A GUCCI MUSEO EXHIBITION
By Crash redaction
Image credit (above): Latifa Echakhch, Fantôme (Jasmin), 2012, © Latifa Echakhch, Photo: Fabrice Seixas, Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris
From March 13th to September 20th 2015, the Gucci Museo in Florence is presenting a new exhibition named “The Language of Flowers”. Imagined by Martin Bethenod, in charge of the Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana collections, the exhibition is the seventh from the Pinault Collection to be shown in the Gucci Museo, and references one of the most iconic symbols of the Gucci House: Flora.
The exhibition comprises various artworks by four emblematic artists over a timeframe between 1967 and 2012: Latifa Echakhch, Marlene Dumas, Valérie Belin, and Irving Penn. Each of their creations deals with the floral theme and brings a new perspective to the iconography of flowers. There is an intention to see beyond the beauty of the vegetal and to feel the ambiguities that make the essence of these artworks. Various problematics are dealt with, such as vanity, politics, grief, or the question of the essence of art, provoking thoughts with a motif often considered superficial.
Latifa Echakhch presents Fantôme (Jasmin), 2012, an installation that, through the use of jasmine, evokes the artist’s memories of the flower vendors in the streets of Beirut, who used to cover the flowers with a shirt to protect their scents. Beyond the memory, the artwork’s fragility reflects on the Arab Spring and makes a political statement. In Einder, 2007-2008, Marlene Dumas explores the experience of mourning through the representation of a floral composition between darkness and light – a reference to her mother’s funeral. Two of Valérie Belin’s artworks are featured in the exhibition, Calendula (Marigold), 2010, and Phlox New Hybrid (with Dahlia Redskin), 2010. The artist explores the idea of hybridation, merging feminine faces into floral motifs and creating an ambiguous relationship between the human and the vegetal, the natural and the cultural. Finally, two diptychs from the great American photographer Irving Penn complete the exhibition. Cottage Tulip, Sorbet, New York, 1967, and Single Oriental Poppy, 1968, oppose one black and white photograph to its color version. Beyond the search for visual perfection, Penn throws the question of the relationship between men and time.
“The Language of Flowers”, March 13th to September 20th 2015, Gucci Museo Florence