Spring is back and so are the endless forms and colours of natural life.
In May 2018 Paolo Giardi secretly went around private gardens and public parks in his neighbourhood of Battersea, London collecting cuttings and specimens of local plants with the guilty help of a pair of pruners and two trusted accomplices. In the following weeks the artist applied the techniques set by botanical conservationists in order to dry and preserve the branches for his artistic means.
‘Flora Chimera’ can be seen as a by-product of its predecessor ‘You Can Learn a Lot of
Things From the Flowers’ in significance and purpose. Centuries of Art History present
us with woman bodies becoming vessels, or vehicles, in the representation of myths, doctrines or, as in the case of the developments of Psychoanalysis and its artistic offshoot the Surrealist Movement, a key to our intricate inner driving for desire.
Through the process of reclaiming the pin-up posters used to adorn many men owned businesses - in this instance original vintage centrefolds collected from a 1970’s erotic Italian publication - the artist is questioning/reversing the male gaze and the female sexualised representation.
From Alessandro Botticelli ‘Primavera’, Gian Lorenzo Bernini ‘Apollo and Daphne’ to Pablo Picasso ‘Femme Fleur’ and Georgia O’Keefe flower compositions, the link between flora’s potential for renewal and the appeal of the sinuous form of the female body has been artistically interconnected.
In ‘Flora Chimera’ the male sexual projections and stereotypes are mediated and mitigated by the transformation. The scientific relevance of the plant, the hidden object of desire, the two things brought together are equal.
'Since you cannot be my wife, you shall assuredly be my tree. I will wear you on my crown… And, as eternal youth is mine, you also shall be always green, and your leaf know
Apollo and Daphne in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphosis’