For the first time in its history the RHS have specially commissioned a major art installation for the Chelsea Flower Show 2012. Tony Heywood and Alison Condie will present Glamourlands: A Techno Folly. Inspired by the Jurassic Coast, they will re-present this element of the English landscape as a pixelated computer gaming field. Cartoon-like in form yet colonised by living plants, they combine jewelled sculptures, video, light, mirrors, sound and scent to create a synthesis of the real and virtual. A comment on how we see nature and landscape today, this techno-folly references the 18th century’s concern with how man experiences nature and the sublime, but within the contemporary aesthetic of the digital age.
In Heywood and Condie’s practice there are many incarnations. A sample of nature could for example be captured on film, translated into a drawing within a happening, which is turned into a maquette and then a monumental sculpture, which then may become a prop for a film, performance piece or installation. An element of that may then be turned into one of their Pours whereby garden landscapes are dissected in terms of their colour content and a film is made of the proportionate elements now presented by slow, manually poured paint, mimicking the abstract colour values of it’s subject. They are thus subverting and re-examining the most traditional of subject matter. In a sense the layering of their practice is organic and dynamic akin to the way that nature can be seen to propagate itself.
Following their residency at Chelsea last year the artists will also exhibit their Video Floral Paint Pours. Nine short films shown simultaneously on multiple HD screens present a carefully choreographed sequence of poured paint, taking the viewer on a journey through a landscape of pure colour. The work is based on the enormous variety of flowers and plants displayed in the Great Pavilion in 2011, when the artists recorded hundreds of colours, matching them to the RHS colour chart. Together with Dulux they analysed the results for each film. Volumes of paint were then poured across a flat or contoured surface, colliding to form strata and bands of colour, and creating abstract portraits of specific flowers.