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Anya Gallaccio: Blessed

Bothy Garden

Scottish-born artist Anya Gallaccio is known for her work with organic matter. In reflection on the consumerist culture of the day, her site-specific installations involve the natural decay of materials, subject to the ravages of time and nature. One such installation consisted of placing a 32-tonne block of ice in a boiler room; another comprised chocolate smeared over the entirety of a wall.

The unpredictability and impermanence of the materials Gallaccio uses is central to their performance: her works become about chance in a dramatic combination of the will of an artist imposing their design on a material and its own independent and inherent temporality. The transient qualities of many of her works mean there often remains very little evidence of them.
 
The present work is not so ephemeral. In Blessed, Gallacio confronts the issue of organic impermanence, but in this case by turning it on its head: she takes a natural object and immortalises it in the durable materials, bronze and ceramic. The tree has now become immune to the natural ravages of time, sprouting an unnatural abundance of perfect apples, frozen and enhanced by human interference. As Gallacio herself notes, ‘we experience so much of the world at a mediated and sanitised distance’ (‘Response to a Space’ in a-n (For Artists), November 2000, p. 3). While in her other works Gallacio promotes the erosion of organic matter, alluding to the wastage and decay in our commodity culture, Blessed forces the unnatural collusion of a natural object with our consumerist nature.
 
Blessed is situated in the Bothy Garden at YSP, in relation to the historic fruit trees that line the walls.

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