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10,000 Buds of Dying Roses: Shades of Red and Green


A bed of roses transforms before the viewer’s eyes into a sublime representation of life and death.

Anya Gallaccio (Scotland, 1963) has sowed a successful art career beginning with her reflection on a basic aspect of life that few acknowledge and observe: the cult of transformation, the formal metamorphosis that all biological organisms experience when they are dying. Her most recent piece, Red on Green, is a carpet of red-rose buds, which, due to the cycle of nature and a decisive action taken by man, project a hyper-esthetic dialogue between life, death and what lies between them. In addition, the gradual dehydration of the flowers turns into a thousand metaphors on beauty, fleetingness and impermanence.

Red on Green is comprised of 10,000 red roses that go through a coordinated tonal decay, a natural dilution, in which time is also an actor as in some of Anya’s other pieces, such as the one in which she affixed real apples to a bronze tree, or another piece consisting of frames of pressed and decaying flowers.

Anya belongs to a group of artists known asYoung British Artists (YBAs) which counts Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Liam Gillick and other artists among its members. They were all born in the mid-60s, came together in the 80s, and for the most part were graduates of the Goldsmiths College. From the very beginning, Anya’s discourse has been about transformation, decay and nature. Trees are a recurring topic in her work, as if this symolized the fragmented, restricted and at times mistreated Axis Mundi.

Gallaccio still has much to say and her works will surely continue to be thought provoking and melancholic via their processes of boundless beauty.

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