12 Celestial Months, 2015-2018
Kreativ House Gallery proudly presents 12 Celestial Months, a photographic project by artist Shaun Stamp (b.1985, Wales), curated by Lee Cavaliere.
The series consists of large-scale photographs of twelve flowers, each attributed to a sign of the zodiac. 12 Months was incepted while the artist spent a winter in Finland, researching the Astrology, Symbolism and mythology of the Zodiac.
The flowers are fake; sprayed with glow-in-the-dark pigment, then photographed, they play with ideas of what is real and what is not; they seem to glow but do not, they seem real but are not. This sense of artifice, of nature, and of beauty, is at the heart of the work, and of the artist’s practice.
The green flowers are suspended in blackness, eerily lit. The works, as with much of Stamp’s practice, reflect issues at the heart of image making, asking questions of the importance of beauty, the fallacies of the real, and the enduring, dreamlike appeal of the unreal.
The artist’s work draws from his mixed family history; his mother was of Portuguese, German, Benin and Arawak descent, and his father Roma Gypsy. This unusual upbringing, in Wales, lead the artist to consider ideas of personal identities and histories; often the work looks at post-colonialism and migration, to better understand the self, and to celebrate its uncertainties, fears, joys and failures.
In 12 Celestial Months, Stamp took as a starting point the Edwardian birth flowers, and the wider symbolism stemming from a ritualisation of personality within mainstream society. The signs of the zodiac oversimplify and standardise individuality; the zodiac therefore represents a repression, as well as a celebration, of the self. The flowers, in their delicacy, bring an almost sinister prettification of conformity. There is a ghostly nature, a veiled threat, to their beauty.
Stamp often works across media, using sculpture, photography and performance to create environments that envelop and transport. For the opening event, harpist Nicolette Chin will play a piece from Caroline Lizotte’s Suite Galactique Opus 39. This is a musical exploration of the meeting point between the Earth’s atmosphere and interplanetary space; the artist considers that this has a compact with the photographic work. They each explore themes of the self and the galactic