14–30 September 2018
Thursday to Sunday 12-4pm
Crate Studios and Project Space,
1 Bilton Square,
Margate CT9 1EE

A layer of living moss forms an indoor landscape in Lizzy Rose’s new audio-visual installation at Crate. Incorporating video, sound, hand-made objects and manipulated plant-life, the work explores landscape, form, magic and the pursuit of knowledge between cultures.

Lizzy Rose visited Japan in 2016 to research a form of floristry called ikebana and to learn about contemporary art practice in Tokyo and Kochi, a city on the island of Shikoku. Kochi has parallels to Margate in its diversity of creative practitioners and arts organizations. Rose's interest lies in the hidden culture surrounding this art form, which she examines by drawing parallels between The art of flower arrangement by Tatsuo Ishimoto and the classes held today in Tokyo by the Ohara School of Ikebana for International students. The art of flower arrangement is a book written in the 1950's. It attempts to explain the basic principles of Ikebana for a western audience and also provides a practical guide describing how to use the simplified principles of Ikebana to decorate your home.

“The process of entropy and my ability to control is pertinent to me as a human being as I have a severe illness which means I am very aware of myself as a creative and decaying form. My condition is creative, my condition is inflammatory; it creates tissue from inflammation which forms new cells. This in turn destroys the functionality of my body, reducing my body’s ability to perform vital functions. Technological (medical) intervention has taken over these vital functions I am losing, through this creative act of my body. I am fed artificially a mixture of nutrients and micro-nutrients, sugar and water which my body can no longer do for itself through my digestive system, much like a plant kept in a pot, slowly using up the nutrients in the soil and waiting to be fed. In this, I am dependent on mimicry of the human body by medical technology for life.”

In the installation, The meaning of the wild, a video showing students at the Ohara School attempting to master the art of arranging flowers and branches will be projected into the space. The video depicts students attempting to master this complex art form which is over 600 years in the development. The video’s narration - half instructional, half philosophical inquiry attempts to guide us through the meaning of these actions accompanied by text from The art of flower arrangement. Pure Ikebana is more precise, combining geometry and natural forms; the wildness of nature meeting rational aesthetics. By replicating landscape it aims to create a transformative space that evokes which is described as a kind of spirituality, or sacred place.

The video is displayed within a landscape of moss. Moss is a common feature of Japanese gardens and sacred spaces, appealing to a sense of a love and fine detail but also toughness and a metaphor for permanence. Handmade ceramics, driftwood, and plant arrangements attempt to bridge the divide between craft and art.

The image of an orchid was taken at the Makino Botanical Gardens in Kochi on the island of Shikoku in Japan after the artist was introduced to the work of Yasuhiro Ishimoto her research trip to visit the Museum of Art, Kochi. Ishimoto was a Japanese-American photographer whose family were from the city of Kochi during Famous for his street photography, Ishimoto also took many photographs of gardens, looking for light and texture. Wild orchids imitate the form of a wasp, in order to trick the wasp into mating with what he believes to be a female wasp. As he goes on to mate with other female “wasps” (or orchids) he spreads the pollen to other orchids thereby strengthening the wasp-like characteristics of the orchid. As the evolutionary chain continues, the orchids that look the most wasp-like thrive.

Mosses are reproduced vegetatively through rhizomes. Generating through a series of chains, “a rhizomatic plant has no center and no defined boundary; rather, it is made up of a number of semi-independent “nodes” or shoots, each of which is capable of growing and spreading on its own, bounded only by the limits of its habitat” (Cormier 2008). The idea of the rhizome has become a metaphor for a model of learning in which hierarchy is destroyed and all knowledge is interconnected and of equal value within the chain.

“Cultivating roots buried deep. This is the second time I have planned to show this work. I was planning the exhibition in early 2017 when my digestive system simply gave up and I spent eight months of the next year in hospital where a team of doctors and nurses step by step attempted to restore my body to a functional state. I have had lots of wonderful support from people to realise this exhibition and I would like to thank them. Jo Murray, Matthew de Pulford, Charley Vines, the Crate team and board, Rachel Boot for her stunning voice over work, Karen Eslea at Turner Contemporary, John McPherson, Mio Nagayama at Museum of Art Kochi, Clayspace, Katie Hare, K Hazelton, Aly Barchi, Julia Riddiough and Beth Anderson.”

As part of this exhibition there will be a Crate Conversations session on Wednesday 27th September at 7pm. The exhibition was funded by the Arts Council, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Crate and is part of Margate Festival.