Le Reve de Fleur
Le Reve de Fleur
'I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight'.
-Mid Summers night Dream,
Act 2 Scene 1
Since childhood I have kept a dream diary, hidden by the side of my bed. A book of fragmented writing from my inner ‘other’ world, relating nightmares, delightful escapes and mysterious stories. As a child I believed in the mythological stories of vampires, werewolves, fayries, goblins, ghosts and witches….The magic of ‘once upon a time’, with spells, sorcery and enchantment stimulated curiosity, a search for meaning, a yearning for (and deep fear of) that which defies understanding. The realm of dreams, with their magical, absurd, uncanny simulations of reality have recently been the inspiration for a series of photographs and collages. Le Reve de Fleur or, the dream of flowers relates to a past dream and is also inspired from a childhood book called the Alphabet Flower Faries by Mary Barker. In Le Reve de Fleur, the faerie’s existence as harmless guardians of the flowers, takes on a somewhat darker interpretation of these astral spirits evoked within my teenage dreams.
Depicted in La Rose, a double image of a woman is presented. A positive and negative photograph in black and white. Is it the same woman or two different women? One looks over her shoulder demurely, the other, hand on hip faces the viewer confrontationally. The embroidered pattern of an entwined rose on the sleeve of a dress plays with light and shadow evoking a tattoo-like effect. Floating behind and yet between the figures are the shape of eyes from a faceless mask. The image is produced from a collage and recreated in the darkroom in the form of a photogram. A photogram is photographic image that is made without a camera whereby objects are placed onto the surface of a light sensitive piece of paper which is then exposed to light. Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy and Rauschenberg were artists who have explored this photographic technique.
Forget-me-not (Tallulah’s dream) is a tracing of a photograph of a glamorous actress from the 1930’s. The tracing paper placed directly over the photograph creates a hazy, ghost-like effect and the lines traced simply follow the silhouette of the figure, as if all that is left from this fragment in time are the clothes that adorned the star. Hidden beneath the tracing paper and on top are dried pressed flowers called forget-me-nots. Forget-me-nots are symbolic of true and undying love, they represent remembrance and a connection that lasts throughout time. There is a German myth to which these flowers are called, whereby two lovers walking along the Danube river see the flowers blossom. The young man goes to pick the flowers for his beloved and is at once swept away by the flowing river, as he is pulled away to his death he cries for her not to forget him.
The use of pressed flowers in this series of collages and photographs are to create a vehicle for intervention. They act as elements for transformation and echo the essence of nostalgia of the photographic image, creating connections between the narrative of the original image and the narrative of the dream/imaginary space. Associated with youth beauty and fertility, flowers are also associated with fragility the passage from life to death and rebirth. In the works created in Le Reve de Fleur the flowers at times form mask like structures, face coverings which contain elements of mystery and illusion. The mask becomes a place of representing a covering of absence, a revelation of death and a space for reinvention. Drawing out impurities, disguising identity, religious, ritualistic, or as the situation in 2020 represents, as a form of viral protection.
The mask as the origin of the arts and creativity is discussed by Walter Benjamin, who wrote in his essay "Some Remarks about Folk Art' ,
'Disguise seeks the arsenal of masks within us….In reality, the world is full of masks’ . (The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility, 1929).