Papaver Rhoeas by Paddy Hartley

Last week we became familiar with a soon to be released art project which continues to haunt us ever since – and very likely will continue to do so – because of its seldom seem hybrid of sheer beauty and mind-boggling concept. In this collection of sculptures named ‘Papaver Rhoeas’, the British artist Paddy Hartley has created a series of highly emotive and thought provoking handmade poppy sculptures using pathologically preserved lamb’s heart tissue (!). Drawing on the poppy’s synonymity with the commemoration of World War One, ‘Papaver Rhoeas’ consists of finely crafted artworks produced by a unique team of art and science practitioners that address contemporary notions of remembrance and the cultural phenomena of memorialisation. Every poppy varies in colour and composition, and each will be installed in a thematically diverse range of institutions covering topics such as the military, science, social history, theology and contemporary art. What a truly remarkable project!

A selection of Hartley’s poppies are designed to transition from solid object to transparent ghost like forms and in some cases to disappear using tissue clearing processes. As temporary, transitory and ephemeral artworks, ‘Papaver Rhoeas’ dispute the veneration of the material trace and present a charged, vital and momentary reliquary for remembrance and memory.

Paddy Hartley is an internationally exhibited, collected and published artist based in London. His artistic practice investigates themes including memorialisation and remembrance, the origins of WW1 facial reconstruction and those who underwent the surgery, the discourse between faith groups and biomedical research, the ethics of human cloning and steroid use and abuse in the bodybuilding community. His work has taken the form of biotissue manipulation and assembly, digital photography, digital embroidery, installation, ceramic, garment creation and modification and assemblage.

Paddy originates from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire and is a graduate of the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff with a Masters Degree in Sculpture and Ceramics. He is currently a Wellcome Trust Arts Awardee, and a Creativeworks London ‘Creative Entrepreneur in Residence’ at King’s College London. His latest book ‘Of Faces and Facades’ is published by Black Dog Publishing, following his publications ‘Project Facade’, ‘Face Corset’ and ‘Safe’.

All images by Paddy Hartley.

The ‘Papaver Rhoeas’ sculptures will go on display to the public from 3rd November until 29th November 2015 simultaneously at these cultural institutions across central London: Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew, Brunei Gallery SOAS, Firepower – Royal Artillery Museum, Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum, Florence Nightingale Museum, The Museum of the Order of St John and the Gordon Museum of Pathology at King’s College London. With more venues to be announced.

For all information see here.