Stux Gallery is delighted to announce Not a Rose, a solo exhibition of photographs by neo-conceptual artist Heide Hatry. Seamlessly juxtaposing flowers assembled from grotesque, immaculately manicured flesh debris and picturesque, nonchalant nature, Hatryʼs works bring aesthetics and ethics into an explosive head-on collision that is both conceptually corrosive and visually arresting.
Hatryʼs serene scenes of flowers are actually photographs of trompe lʼoeil arrangements of the offal, sex organs and other residues of deceased animals. Their simple compositions almost recall scientific illustrations, whose directed focus on the flowersʼ anatomy heightens their fragrant aroma and delicate beauty. Her commitment to recreating the physical beauty of flowers renders the viewerʼs realization of the photographs' true materiality particularly jarring. The instantaneity of photography confronts the ephemeral blossoms with the persistent momentum of death and decay, and invites viewers to interrogate our cultural conception of flowers and their function as, essentially, “sex organs for plants”. Elegant yet deeply disturbing, these works call into question the foundations of aesthetic perception (and perception in general) and the ethics of our use and abuse of living animal-plant nature.
This exhibition at Stux coincides with the new CHARTA publication: Heide Hatry, Not a Rose, which addresses the nature of our relationship to flowers with unprecedented scope. Her images and the writing of 101 prominent intellectuals, writers, and artists together channel Richard Wagnerʼs pursuit of the “Gesamtkunstwerk”, an interdisciplinary “total artwork” that offers a dynamic, holistic expression of its subject that is not constrained by the division between contemporary artistic genres. Contributing writers include Jonathan Ames, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jessica Hagedorn, Donna Haraway, Siri Hustvedt, Lucy Lippard, Robert Kelly, Kate Millett, Rick Moody, Steven Pinker, Avital Ronell, Stanley Rosen, Peter Singer, Klaus Theweleit, Franz Wright, and Luisa Valenzuela.