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Modern Nature explores our interaction and fascination with plants in relation to aspects of social change, personal well-being and scientific research. Featuring works by artists Alberto Baraya, Mark Dion, Simryn Gill, Derek Jarman, Hilma af Klint, Margaret Mee, Christine Ödlund, David Thorpe and Viktor Timofeev.
Edited by Kate Macfarlane and with an essay, Modern Nature, by curator Katharine Stout (Director, Focal Point Gallery and Associate Director, Drawing Room).
This catalogue accompanies the exhibition Modern Nature and was designed by Studio Ard. Edition of 300, printed by Aldgate Press and hand-finished. 44 pages, 33 colour plates.
Alberto Baraya (b. 1968, Bogotá) lives and works in Bogotá. Baraya studied painting at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (1987-1992); and Masters in Aesthetics and Art Theory at Universidade Autónoma y Complutense de Madrid (1995). Since 2001, he has styled himself as a “viajero”, referring to 18th- and 19th-century European travelers who undertook botanical explorations in the name of science and in the service of colonization through the project, “Herbário de plantas artificiais” (Herbarium of Artificial Plants). His work has been included in numerous biennials such as the 10th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre (2015); 8th Berlin Biennial, Berlin (2014); 9th Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai (2012); the 11th Cuenca Biennial, Cuenca (2011); the 53rd Venice Biennale, Venice (2009); the 27a São Paulo Bienal, São Paulo (2006); the 1st Medellín Biennial, Medellín (1997); the Biennial of the Caribbean, Santo Domingo (2003); and the 4th Bogotá Biennial, Bogotá (1994). Select solo exhibitions include the Frost Art Museum, Miami (2013); Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis (2011); Museo de Arte Moderna de Bogotá, Bogotá (2003); and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2001). Select group exhibitions include Bronx Museum, New York City (2014); the Museum of Latin American Art - MOLAA, Long Beach (2013); Fundación/Colección Jumex, Mexico DF (2013); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2003); and Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona (2000).
Mark Dion (b. 1961, New Bedford, Massachusetts) lives in New York. He studied at the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, Connecticut (1981-82), where he was awarded a BFA (1986) and an honorary doctorate (2002). Dion attended the School of Visual Arts in New York (1983-84) and completed the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program (1984-85). He was made a Guggenheim Fellow (2019); has an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (Ph.D.) from The Wagner Free Institute of Science, Philadelphia (2015); and is an Honorary Fellow of Falmouth University (2014). Awards include the ninth annual Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001); The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2007); and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lucida Art Award (2008). Large-scale public projects include David Fairchild’s Laboratory, commissioned for The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Miami (2016); Den, commissioned for the Norway National Tourist Route (2012); and Neukom Vivarium, commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum (2006). Dion has also produced permanent commissions for Documenta 13, Kassel (2012); and the Montevideo Biennale, Uruguay (2012). He is co-director of Mildred’s Lane, an innovative visual art education and residency program in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania. Select solo exhibitions include The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2017); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2016); Natural History Museum, London (2007); Miami Art Museum, Miami (2006); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2004); Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield (2003); and Tate Gallery, London (1999). His work is held in public and private collections including Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts; The New York Public Library, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Tate, London.
Born 1959 Singapore, Simryn Gill lives and works in Sydney.
Gill often works with materials and imagery from her immediate surroundings, making large series in processes that include photography, drawing, printing, making collections, and making and altering objects. She also works with texts, writes and publishes.
Selected solo exhibitions include Soft Tissue, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai (2019); Passing Through, Utopia Art, Sydney (2019); Works on Paper, Kohta, Helsinki (2018); Traveling Light, Lund Konsthalle, Lund (2017); The (hemi)cycle of leaves and paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent (2016); Floating, three accounts, Tracy Williams Ltd, New York (2015); and Hugging the Shore, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore (2015). Select group exhibitions include Down to Earth, Gropius Bau, Berlin (2020); The Penumbral Age, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2020); Home is a Foreign Place, The Met Breuer, New York (2019); Modern Nature, Drawing Room, London (2019); Among the Trees, Hayward Gallery, London (2019); A Beast, a God and a Line, Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka (2018); Superposition: Equilibrium and Engagement, 21st Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2018); Minimalism: Space. Light. Object, National Gallery, Singapore (2018); A Temporary Futures Institute, M HKA, Antwerp (2017); and Windows, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai (2017).
Derek Jarman (b. 1942, Middlesex; d. 1994, London) lived and worked in London. Graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, London (1974). Jarman was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute (1990); and was nominated for the Palme d’Or (1987). Awards include Silver Berlin Bear, Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin (1986); C.I.C.A.E. Award, Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin (1988); Independent/Experimental Film and Video Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, Los Angeles (1988); Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, BAFTA, London (1992); and Honorable Mention, Stockholm Film Festival, Stockholm (1994). Select films include Jubilee (1978); Imagining October (1984); The Angelic Conversation (1985); Caravaggio (1986); The Last of England (1987); The Garden (1990); Wittgenstein (1993); and Blue (1993).
Hilma af Klint (b 1862, Kalberg Palace; d. 1944, Danderyd) lived and worked in Sweden. Graduated from Royal Academy of Fine Arts (1887). Af Klint stipulated before she died that her abstract work was not to be shown until twenty years after her death for fear of her work not being understood. After the work was first shown at the exhibition The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890–1985 at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1986 she was revealed to be a key figure in turn of the century modern art. Select solo exhibitions include The Secret Pictures by Hilma af Klint, MOMA, New York (1989); Ockult målarinna och abstrakt pionjär, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden and touring (1989–1991); Painting the Unseen, Serpentine Galleries, London (2016); Hilma af Klint, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo (2018); and Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2018-2019). Select group exhibitions include An Atom in the Universe, Camden Arts Centre, London (2006); The Message. The Medium as artist – Das Medium als Künstler, Kunstmuseum Bochum, Bochum (2008); Traces du Sacré, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008); Cosa mentale – Imaginaries of Telepathy of the 20th-Century Art, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz (2015-2016); The Keeper, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2016); and Beyond Stars – The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky, Musée d'Orsay, Paris (2017).
Margaret Mee (b. 1909, Chesham; d. 1988, Seagrave) lived and worked in São Paulo. Graduated from Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (1950), receiving a national diploma in painting and design. Mee moved to São Paulo in 1952 to teach art at the British School, and made her first expedition to Belém in the Amazon Basin in 1956. Awards include honorary citizenship of Rio de Janeiro (1975); MBE for services to Brazilian botany (1976); the Brazilian Order of Cruzeiro do Sul (1979); and Fellowship of the Linnean Society (1986). Her work is held in the collections of Kew Gardens, London; the Instituto de Botanica de Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC.
Christine Ödlund (b. 1963, Stockholm) lives and works in Stockholm. Graduated from the Academy of Photography, Stockholm (1995); and the Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm (1996). Ödlund was commissioned to make the animation Atlantis by Animate Projects and RSA Arts & Ecology in association with Arts Council and Channel 4 (2008). She was also commissioned to create Water Sample/Visualisation Centre C in Norrkopin by the National Public Art Council Sweden (2011). Select solo exhibitions include Thought-Forms, Christian Larsen, Stockholm (2009); Thought-Form Materializing, Milliken Gallery, New York (2011); Musik för Eukaryoter, Trondheim Museum of Art, Trondheim (2014); and IONOSPHERE * PLANT * METAL * AURA, Galleri Riis, Oslo (2018). Select group exhibitions include Man Machine, Interactive Institute, Stockholm (2006); Creating Spaces, Tsinghua University, Bejing (2008); Botanic Sounds, The Botanical Garden, Gothenburg (2009); Worshipping the Sun, Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv (2010); The Drawing Room, Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art, Stockholm (2014); Life Itself, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2016); Survival Kit 9, International Contemporary Arts Festival, Riga (2017); With The Future Behind Us, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2018); and Traces Ecrites, Marie-Laure Fleisch, Brussels (2018).
David Thorpe (b. 1972, London) lives and works in Berlin. Studied MA Fine Art, Goldsmiths University, London (1996-98); and BA (Hons) Fine Art, Humberside University, Lincoln (1991-94). Select solo exhibitions include David Thorpe, Lush Underground, Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon (2017); David Thorpe - Loved Underground, Meyer Riegger Berlin, Berlin (2016); Meyer Riegger, Karlsruhe (2015); Maureen Paley, London (2012); The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield (2012); Casey Kaplan, New York (2010); A Weak Light Flickering, Meyer Riegger, Berlin (2009); David Thorpe: Veils and Shelters, Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover, (2009); The Defeated Life Restored, Kunsthaus Glarus, Glarus (2007); A Meeting of Friends, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA (2006); and The Colonists, Art Now space, Tate Britain, London (2004). Select group exhibitions include And Then There Were None, Meyer Riegger, Karslruhe (2017); Sitting on branch, von Bartha, Basel (2016); The Science of Imaginary Solutions, Breese Little, London (2016); Never Look Back When Leaving, Casey Kaplan, New York (2014); Half past noon, CAN - Centre d art Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel (2014); Labour and Wait, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara (2013); Drawing a Universe, Arthena Foundation, Düsseldorf (2013); Heather & Ivan Morison, Ben Rivers, and David Thorpe, The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield (2012); The Power of Paper, Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); From The Recent Past: New Acquisitions, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2011); Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London (2011); The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place, 176 / Zabludowicz Collection, London (2010); The Dark Monarch: Magic and Modernity in British Art, Tate St Ives, St Ives and Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne (2009); and Delusional Virtuosity, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Schiedam (2009).
Born 1984 Riga, Viktor Timofeev lives and works in New York. Graduated from Hunter College, New York (2008); and Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2017).
Select solo exhibitions include DOG, Interstate Projects, New York (2021); 14th Baltic Triennial, Vilnius (2021); Game, MX Gallery, New York (2020); God Objects, Karlin Studios, Prague (2020); Stairway to Melon, kim? Contemporary Art Center, Riga (2017); God Room, Alyssa Davis Gallery, New York (2019); OilRain, Roodkapje, Rotterdam (2017); S.T.A.T.E., Drawing Room, London (2016); SAZARUS I, Jupiter Woods, Vienna (2016); Proxyah v2, Jupiter Woods, London (2014); Proxyah v1, KIM? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga (2014); and Palace of Peace And Reconciliation, Arcadia Missa, London (2014). Select group exhibitions include Unexpected Encounters, Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia (2019); Portable Landscapes, James Gallery at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York (2019); Cosmic Existence, Den Frie, Copenhagen (2019); Orient: The New East, Bunkier Sztuku, Krakow (2018); Somewhere in Between, Bozar, Brussels (2018); Digital Gothic, Centre D'art Contemporain - Synagogue de Delme (2018); No Natural Disaster, HORSEANDPONY Fine Art, Berlin (2016); Piknik Na Obochine, Exo Exo, Paris (2016); Plural Melts, Yvonne Lambert Gallery, Berlin (2016); Nimm’s Mal Easy, Austellungsraum Klingental, Basel (2014); and Palazzo Peckham, with Simon Werner and Cindie Cheung, 55th Venice Biennale, Venice (2013).
Residencies include Rupert, Vilnius (2015); Mahler & Lewitt Studios, Spoleto (2013). Awards include the Artist Grant, Pollock Krasner Foundation, New York (2013); and Adolf Loos Preis, Van Den Valentyn Foundation, Cologne (2012).