Artist Mat Collishaw, a prominent member of the 1990s Young British Artists group, is poised to reveal an innovative art series at London’s Kew Gardens this fall, delving into the mesmerizing fusion of artistic expression, the natural world’s marvels, and technological ingenuity.
The forthcoming exhibition, named Petrichor and slated to run from October 20, 2023, through April 7, 2024, will showcase an array of new commissions alongside existing creations, all shaped by the infusion of artificial intelligence (AI).
A spotlight of the showcase is the debut of Collishaw’s “Alluvion” series, inspired by Dutch Golden Age paintings of flora and fauna. This collection comprises six fresh works ingeniously crafted through AI. Initially presenting as striking flowers and plants, a closer examination unveils intricately layered insects that form the essence of the buds. The artworks ingeniously capture the concept of Pouyannian mimicry, wherein flowers mimic insects to enhance their own reproduction.
Also featured in the exhibition is Collishaw’s “Heterosis” series, a dynamic fusion of genetic algorithms and blockchain technology presented as NFTs. Drawing inspiration from the 17th-century tulip mania, where a single Semper Augustus flower bulb commanded staggering prices, Collishaw employs this historical reference to explore the interplay between beauty, rarity, and digital value.
Among the captivating works gracing the Kew Gardens exhibition is “The Centrifugal Soul” (2017), an entrancing pre-film zoetrope conjuring fleeting scenes of birds of paradise through its flickering mechanism.
Equally captivating is “Albion” (2017), a hologram-like creation conceived as a response to the Brexit referendum and England’s identity. This artwork features a spectral oak tree symbolizing the nation, delicately supported by chains and crutches, raising questions about the preservation of idealized historical narratives.
Featured Image: Mat Collishaw, Insecticide 13 (2009). Courtesy of the Artist