À Fleurer

Floral and epistolary action, 2016.

“You deserve neither my poetry nor my flowers, so I am leaving you, and taking it all elsewhere.”

A weekly action in which the artist shares private letters from his own collection with a local florist, who interprets the contents of the writing in flowers. When each new floral arrangement is unveiled, the artist telephones the gallery and reads his letter into the exhibition space over loudspeakers. An edition of screenprinted copies of the original handwritten letters are exhibited and available for viewers to take with them.

The project reverses the legendary 1948 correspondence between the French novelist Colette and her Swiss publisher Henri-Louis Mermod, which involved Mermod sending weekly bouquets to Colette to which she responded with writing. The resulting collection of essays on floral themes was published in 1949 under the title Pour Un Herbier.

The first expression of À Fleurer was commissioned by curator Tarin Dehod, and involved the participation of florist Jill Wilges and screenprinter Michael Peterson. The letters addressed themes of abandonment, sexual frustration, emotional exhaustion, blocked creativity and the trembling beginnings of new love.

The second iteration was staged at Platforms Athens with the Greek title,
σε ανθώ. Loc. Local writer and composer Kiriakos Spirou selected single flowers from the Athenian hills in response to letter pages sent to him by the artist about inherited gardens and the poetry of Constantin Cavafy.

Photos by Derek Sandbeck