Apollinaire Fine Arts announces its inaugural London show, ‘The Fall’, an Exhibition of works by two established American artists, Anna Laurent and Ernesto Caivano which opens today at The Fitrovia Gallery until the 28th of May.
Inspired by a passion for natural forms, each artist draws on a rich heritage of artistic and scientific illustration. Together they take the viewer on a journey through an unfamiliar wonderland in which all is not what it seems, where abstraction turns out to be figurative, and figuration a route back to abstraction. Playing on the multiplicity implicit in the word ‘Fall’, both in its denoting of autumn, harvest and nature and its biblical connotations, the exhibition presents alternate universes, shifting from our ‘real’ environment – known, familiar and nevertheless breathtaking – to one conceived in the mind’s eye, converging in the liminal space between the real and the imagined. We spoke to the artists about evolution and creativity…
Could you give us some insight into how you met? And how your working process has developed since that time?
EC: I met Jonathan Dawid (Founder of in person at my studio after we were first introduced by a mutual friend.) The working process is fairly straightforward. We dialogued about the themes and current ideas in the studio, and what his interests were funneling into, and we met in the middle, so to speak, in selecting pieces to show for ‘The Fall’ alongside Anna Laurent.
AL: I met Jonathan Dawid over 15 years ago, when we were both students at Harvard and then, after graduation, co-workers at the same start-up. While I have always been interested in science, as an arts major I didn’t really know how to pursue it, so instead I followed a path into graphic design and then documentary film. That, in turn, led to me relocating to Los Angeles, where my interest was caught by the incredible botanical diversity on offer in Southern California. I am a keen runner and often on runs I would come across these amazing plants and plant forms, and I felt I had to find out more about them. I was particularly intrigued by seedpods, which were everywhere I looked but which everyone seemed to ignore. Eventually, I decided to quit my job as a film producer and focus full time on trying to capture their beauty & bring them to the intention of a wider audience through a combination of photography and writing. And that’s how the Dispersal Project was born.
What in particular inspires you about the grace of natural forms?
AL: What inspires me the most is the way that nature combines form and function so perfectly and in so many ways. The specimens I photograph are all seed pods, so they all have the same basic function – to help plants disperse their seeds and protect them as they do so. But this unity of purpose has resulted in a staggering diversity of forms, each reflecting a different seed dispersal strategy and each with its own particular beauty. Even where a similar dispersal mechanism is used there is a wide variety of forms on offer: for example, many plants use the wind to disperse seeds, but they do so in different ways, from thistledown to helicopter-shaped blades and even the giant tumbleweed.
EC: The recurrent patterns seen at multiple orders of magnitude, in tandem with the surprising and endless varieties of emotional communions. From cosmology to particle physics, and all that is unknown in the field of perception and memory, I see all of this both internally echoed in the external world, or the reverse. It’s all one organism in my view, with endless expressions of forms.
In terms of science and abstraction, are you interested in any theoretical ideas?
AL: Evolution is at the heart of my work – the fact that all the natural forms we see are the result of millions of years of natural selection. When natural forms are described as “abstract”, all that really means is that they are unfamiliar – outside the range of most people’s experience. What I find amazing is that this kind of abstraction can be found in the humblest and most common species – it just shows that we humans are really not that good as observers. We will look at a flower, but once the petals have fallen off we completely ignore the new forms that then develop with the seeds.
EC: Absolutely. I love science and adopt it’s perceptive and cognitive tools in the way one would listen to music or read poetry. Both could be said to be symbolic representations of abstractions, in that they mediate experience. There are many shortcomings with philosophy and science, but the rigor is its strength. Curiosity is fundamental, ceaseless questioning, and updating the models offered by these fields are inspiring for the narrative.
Ideally, what effect would you like your work to have for your viewers?
EC: To inspire them to question, slow down the viewing process, and perhaps plant a seed that sheds light on the complexity and diversity of the biosphere on Earth, and how little we know about it.
AL: At a basic level, I hope that my work will teach people to look at plants in a different way and that this will lead to a deeper appreciation of nature and the natural world. At another level, I am about to start work on a new project that will highlight endangered species of plant and the work being done to save them. It’s not just pandas and whales that are under threat of extinction!
What advice would you give to younger artists in regards to collaboration?
EC: Collaborations are a form of dialogue. Be clear in what the hopes, limits, and hurdles may be, geek-out in whatever arena one thrives, and leave room for failures. These always create the ground for future works. Ask questions.
Could you recommend any good shows that are on at the moment?
AL: Not that are on locally I’m afraid – I only landed in London a few days ago. I have a picture included in another forthcoming show at the Exhibitionist Hotel in South Kensington though, so I would like to recommend that! The theme of the exhibition is Art and Parody. I’ll be exhibiting a photograph called “Mr. President Goes to Seed” – it’s a seedhead with an uncanny resemblance to a certain American president, right down to the tiny hands.
What was the last thing that really made you stop and stare?
AL: That’s tough because it happens all the time! Whenever I’m out walking or running, I always keep an eye out for a new or interesting specimen to take home and photograph. I’ve just come back from 3 weeks in Southwest France, by the Pyrenees – I found some amazing specimens though I’m not sure what they all are. It can be confusing for because it turns out that many European plants that share the same common names with American plants are completely different species. Even daisies are something different in England from in the US!
139 Whitfield St, Bloomsbury
London W1T 5EN