This artwork is part of Ways of Seeing, a partnership between Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 and the Government Art Collection. Ways of Seeing turns the borough into a gallery with 33 internationally renowned artists displayed in 28 unexpected locations.
For centuries, artists have produced ‘memento mori’, artworks that remind us of death, in order to make us feel more alive. They often feature skulls, decaying fruit or plants. This contemporary art video by James Balmforth is in that tradition.
Delicate flowers, including primroses, buttercups and forget-me-nots, move slowly across a black background. One by one, they are zapped by a ray of light, shone through a magnifying glass. Flowers need light to live, but here it wilts them.
Black humour often features in this artist’s work. He is interested in exposing objects and materials to pressure or heat, creating moments of transformation. Other works on this theme include a dagger made from a metal called gallium, which melts at 30°or skin temperature.
James Balmforth was born in Plymouth and graduated from Chelsea College of Arts in 2003. He has shown his work in solo exhibitions in London and in group shows including Meeting Point at The Cass Sculpture Foundation, Goodwood (2017).
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