Flowers Mutate into Peculiar Blossoms in 18th-Century-Style Paintings by Laurent Grasso

“Future Herbarium,” distemper on wood, 33.5 x 24 x 4.2 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Perrotin. All images © Laurent Grasso, shared with permission

In Laurent Grasso’s Future Herbarium, small bunches of flowers evolve into bizarre forms with doubled pistils and petals sprouting in thick layers and tufts. Painted in distemper or oil, the transformed blooms are depicted as typical studies of specimens common in the 18th century. The mutations bring together historical aesthetics and transformations from an imagined future, provoking “an impression of strangeness where beauty and anxiety are mixed,” the Paris-based artist says.

Grasso works in multiple mediums, from painting to sculpture to film, and the themes of time and transformation permeate many of his projects. Future Herbarium stems from “ARTIFICIALIS,” a film slated for screening at the Musée d’Orsay, that considers the liminal spaces between nature and culture in relation to images. In its presentation at Hong Kong’s Perrotin (which is up through April 24) and the Jeonnam Museum of Art in Gwangyang (which is on view virtually and in-person through June 30), the series is paired with another project dealing with the impacts of solar wind on the earth. “The Future Herbarium’s flowers are thus subjected to an imaginary catastrophe, which would have produced mutations but also to these solar winds,” the artist says.

In addition to the two exhibitions in Hong Kong and Gwangyang, Grasso’s work will be on view at Aranya Art Center in Qinhuangdao, China, through May 16, at Artspace in Sydney from April 28 to July 11, and at Musée de l’Armée in Paris from May 7, 2021, to January 30, 2022. Explore more of his multi-disciplinary practice on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Future Herbarium,” distemper on wood, 34 x 24 x 4.5 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium,” oil on wood, 33.6 x 24 x 4.8 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium,” distemper on wood, 34 x 24 x 4.5 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium,” distemper on wood, 34 x 24 x 4.5 centimeters. Courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium” (2020), white bronze, 135 x 20 x 20 centimeters. Photo by Ringo Cheung, courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium” (2020), white bronze, 135 x 20 x 20 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Courtesy Perrotin

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