FERREIRA PROJECTS is proud to present Lynn Wray's first solo exhibition in London Civilisation. Wray's iconoclastic new body of work deconstructs varying ideals of civilisation and challenges the way these ideals are objectified.
Wray takes the formal garden as a subject to start this investigation, as in the beginning there was Eden and since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has endlessly sought to recreate this vision of paradise. The garden is a symbol of the often disharmonious marriage between nature and culture and of Man's struggle to either perfect or dominate his environment. The formal garden then becomes a metaphor for civilisation, of man's increasing dominion over nature, exemplified most prominently in André Le Notre's gardens at Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte. Wray uses the language of the formal garden (perspective, symmetry and grandeur) in her work to depict the distance between this kind of cultural rationalism and our more instinctive and expressive selves. Drawing and painting are used as a process to investigate the impact of limiting creative expression to formalistic and regimented rules.
The exhibition will also showcase Wray's textual and photographic work about the Esposizione Universale di Roma or World Fair of 1942 and the present EUR district of Rome. The Esposizione was commissioned by Benito Mussolini and was intended to be an âOlympics of Civilisation' that would demonstrate the supremacy of the Italian people and vindicate the increasingly aggressive fascist regime's colonialist aspirations to become a modern-day Roman Empire. However, the reality of the day that should have seen the fair open to the public was inevitable military defeat for Italy and the beginning of the end of the Fascist regime. The site instead lay dormant and in ruins a spectral vision of the destructiveness of the quest for empire.
Wray's photographs challenge the authority and ideology of the architecture of the Esposizione by interrupting the symmetry and rigidity of the space and by utilising text to create a paradoxical dialogue between the voiced intentions of the organizers and the reality of the space. A related body of photographs examines the present day suburb of EUR and its inhabitants struggle to co-exist with the legacy of the architecture that dominates the environment. Wray's photographic book This Did Not Happen will also be launched at the exhibition an anti-catalogue to the Esposizione. It has been designed to both seduce and repel the reader by juxtaposing the powerful imagery of the architecture with the political ideology which dictated the design.
Lynn Wray graduated with an MA RCA from the Royal College of Art in 2007 and previously studied at the Glasgow School of Art. Wray works in any given media and is determinedly anti-stylistic, producing work that is led by content and rendered with skill.
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