In 1750, at a time when porcelain was deemed the most precious and desirable of materials, the royal consort Madame Pompadour commissioned hundreds of handpainted porcelain blooms for planting in the winter garden surrounding her Parisian villa: a public demonstration of her taste, refinement and position.
In June 2010 at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, in a garden not far from Pompadour’s former retreat, models paraded gowns fashioned as brightly coloured wildflowers, their heads swathed in the coloured cellophane of a wrapped bouquet. “Dior’s Galliano battles economic crisis with flowers” proclaimed the Reuters’ headline, while an American starlet tweeted her desire “to be every flower in Galliano’s garden”.
My earlier work from the ongoing Com/pact series has examined characterisations of feminine virtue and their persistence in image and language. Fragile Dreams, the most recent of the Com/pact group, alludes also to the misalignment in definitions of consumption, display, identity and well-being; and their inevitable disjunction with the reality of ecological limits and a finite world.