From 3-12 April, Cj Hendry presents her 7th solo exhibition and first show in London. Titled Epilogue, the exhibition introduces a new corpus of work comprising intricate, multi- chromatic drawings of flower petals. Showcased in a dilapidated East London church over 10 days, during which 10 tonnes of recyclable confetti will drop from the ceiling to gradually cover the grounds, Epilogue is an immersive experience exploring the ephemeral nature of beauty.
For Epilogue, Hendry has drawn 50 petals from her vast collection of flora from around the world. The artist carefully arranges and photographs each specimen, and meticulously reproduces the images in Caran D’Ache pencils. The creation of each drawing requires intense discipline and concentration, with a small-scale piece taking up to 80 hours. Far from being an ordeal, however, Hendry views drawing as a meditative process which provides a momentary respite from the outside world.
The new series of work draws on depictions of nature throughout art history, from 17th century Dutch Still Life paintings to the Pop Art of Andy Warhol and Marc Quinn. While the botanic motif has traditionally symbolised life and vitality, Hendry opts for a darker interpretation. Instead of illustrating entire flowers, Hendry depicts single petals that have been severed from their buds and isolated from the rest of its body. Without their source of nutrients, the petals are inevitably left to decay. The artist portrays them precisely when they begin to dry and wither, capturing in her drawings the final vestiges of their temporary existence.
QUOTE: "This series is concerned with decay and death. We treasure flowers for their fleeting beauty. Countless artists have depicted flowers in full bloom, but few have portrayed them as they begin to wither and shed their petals. To me, it’s during this process of decomposition that the tension between vitality and mortality is brought to the fore. When you walk around the exhibition, remember that all the petals I’ve drawn have now turned to dust. The drawings are all that remain from their brief existence. In a way, Epilogue is a memorial to them and a reminder that nothing lasts forever."
For Hendry, the exhibition space and its associated concept are crucial to the narrative of her practice. Eschewing the pristine, white-wall gallery space, the artist frequently creates temporary large-scale installations. Epilogue takes place in a disused East London church, where machines fixed onto the ceiling steadily release 10 tonnes of snow-white confetti throughout the exhibition. During this period, viewers will navigate the cavernous hall as confetti drift down from above like cherry blossom petals, gradually blanketing the ground around them. The interactive installation also touches on the religious notion of rebirth. To prepare for the exhibition, the studio has renovated the church and repaired its damaged ceiling. This regeneration process will breathe new life into the church and reinstate its role as a hub for local communal life. The end of Hendry’s Epilogue will thus mark the beginning of a new chapter in the church’s own story.
Friday 3rd of April, 2020
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Tube: Mile End Station (4 min walk)