To celebrate the Artful Autumn season at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew we take a closer look at Rebecca Louise Law’s giant immersive installation made up of 375,000 preserved flowers.
The London-based installation artist creates ethereal works from flora. From vitrine displays to the recreation of an upside down meadow, Rebecca Louise Law has installed her works around the world including Athens, Poznan, Melbourne and Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire.
For her installation, Life in Death, Law has transformed the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art into a fantastical immersive landscape of 1,000 hand-sewn hanging garlands. The mesmerising installation that incorporates all types of flowers is inspired by Kew’s collection of preserved ancient Egyptian funeral garlands, particularly of Ramesses II, dating back to 1300BC.
‘I am honoured to be creating an installation that takes its inspiration from The Shirley Sherwood Collection, Kew Herbarium and Economic Botany Collection, showcasing the wonder of the flower and its material properties,’ says Law.
‘It’s difficult to flow against the cycle of life and death, trying to preserve and hold on to a material that traditionally has little or no value in a modern culture,’ Law explains further. ‘The natural world has been at the core of my artwork and I have always longed to create art that enables the viewer to find serenity within nature, transporting them into a space without the constraints of time and where there is still life in death.’
The delicate garlands have been made using Law’s own collection of flowers and plants, which have been dried for up to six years. Visitors are able to weave their way through the intricate installation and consider our relationship to flowers and how they are used in ritualistic ceremonies.
As part of Kew’s exceptional botanical collection, they have some 600 ancient Egyptian plant specimens, which are extremely crucial in understanding the origins of plants and flora. To accompany Law’s exhibit, some of Kew’s fragile ancient Egyptian wreathes, which would have been placed on mummies and coffins, have been put on display, giving context and an intriguing juxtaposition to this unique work of art.
Want to see more art in London? Henry Moore’s ‘Old Flo’ get new East London home.