A N Y A _G A L L A C C I O
Anya Gallaccio employs organic materials such as flowers, fruit, ice, salt, chocolate, chalk and grass to create ephemeral works of art that grow, decay and change in ways that are not always easy to predict. This transient quality adds to their beauty. Gallaccio's earlier works were often displayed in large derelict spaces, playing off their evocative context. For example, in 1996 she displayed a vast block of ice in a disused pumping station in East London. Over time a core of rock salt slowly eroded the ice from the inside out. Gallaccio's work engages the viewer visually, but may also act on the other senses - smell, sound and touch are integral aspects of several of her works. As there is often no physical evidence left from the installations, memory is also a factor when considering Gallaccio's work.
Gallaccio has stated, 'I see my works as being a performance and a collaboration. There is unpredictability in the materials and collaborations I get involved in. Making a piece of work becomes about chance - not just imposing will on something but acknowledging its inherent qualities.'
Frequently Gallaccio has chosen to work with sites that have a rich history and her installations often reference this - for example, at Compton Verney, she made a design inspired by a ceiling decoration for the interior of the Robert Adam house then re-created it outside on the lawn (Repens 2000). The pattern disappeared as the grass grew, emphasizing the process of continual transformation.
Gallaccio's materials are not always ephemeral. She has confronted the issue of impermanence, creating organic objects in a more permanent form. In 2005 she made a series of life-size bronze trees laden with shiny ceramic apples, which have been displayed both inside the gallery and outside in the natural landscape.
She has also worked with photography in various ways throughout her career. Her most recent photographic works have investigated the landscapes found within material, when penetrated using a process of high magnification. Inspired by the rich history and geology of Orford Ness she employs this use of photography in her installations for SNAP Art at the Aldeburgh Festival, 2014.
Gallaccio’s installations on Orford Ness and at Snape Maltings will comprise images made using extreme magnification to depict the inner structures of imploded material taken from the site of those early experiments. Working from a small sample bag of material taken from the Orford Ness site she has almost magically produced a series of large photographic ‘landscapes’ from its content. These images have been printed and stretched onto metal structures so that they can be viewed at an angle and in the outdoor landscape.
The works reference the seemingly abstract quality of early war photographs and their perspectives of land from the air and also her interest in the painted camouflage flats that were employed during wartime to disguise the land from above. Given that the images have been extracted from the constantly shifting landscape of shingle at Orford Ness, the installations address the site’s mysterious military past as well as its unique geological being. This new project, like much of Anya Gallaccio’s work develops her explorations of organic matter - its structure and the forces of decay and destruction.
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Born in Paisley, Scotland in 1963, Gallaccio lives and works in London and America. After studying at Kingston Polytechnic (1984-85) and Goldsmiths College, University of London (1985-1988), she first came to public attention in the late 1980s along with a group of other Young British Artists in an exhibition called Freeze curated by the artists themselves, headed by Damien Hirst. Since that time she has had a number of solo presentations of her work both in Britain and abroad including the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain, and was a Turner Prize nominee in 2003 /2004. Her work is in many public collections including Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and South Gallery, London..