Galerie Düsseldorf, 2003
Photo: Acorn Photo Agency

Floribunda celebrates the lineage of the floral motif as a recurring image in pattern across many histories and cultures. The exhibition focuses specifically (though not exclusively) on the fleur-de-lis motif and attempts to create new meanings through a contemporary reading of this ancient and culturally widespread symbolic image. In Europe the fleur-de-Lis has been associated with right-wing and royalist values through its frequent inclusion into medieval heraldic imagery and its adoption by French royalty as an emblem from the 12th century onwards. Another aspect of fleur-de-lis historical evolution pins it to strong Christian connotations including references to the virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity. It has also been used as a symbolic decorative motif in many non-western and past cultures although the specific origins and meaning of these diverse usages are often difficult to trace or surrounded by confusion. Floribunda celebrates the decorative potential of the fleur-de-lis as a historically significant motif in pieces such as ‘Fleur-de-Stijl’ but also exploits its past conservative associations as an appropriate symbol to express the artist’s views about current political issues. This is exemplified in works such as ‘A Rose is a Thorn is a Bush’ and ‘Fleur-de-Dumb’, where media images of John Howard and George Bush are embedded into the floral patternation, along with text and tacky floral and striped wallpaper. The intention of other pieces in this exhibition, such as ‘Wallpaper Cluster Flowers’, is to explore the surface of the gallery walls in a style intended to mimic the all-enveloping spatial and visual effects of wallpaper.
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