Collishaw's resin-sculpted flower is riddled with syphilitic diseases. This sinister creation, displayed in a glass and wood bell jar, pays tribute to Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal (1857), a book of poetry focused on the themes of decadence and eroticism. From afar, the sculpture appears innocent housed in its antique-style vitrine like a miniature greenhouse. On closer inspection however, the viewer, captivated by the initial seduction of the work, will see a flower which appears genetically altered with its delicate and glistening petals infected with human scars and sores.
Resembling something from a cabinet of curiosities, the contents of which are both viscerally provocative and transcendent, The Venal Muse, Envirico veers to the dark side of humanity. Incorporating Gothic beauty and horror, Collishaw’s sickly flora act as reflections of the depraved state of self and society, a condition he feels is exacerbated by our modern, media-saturated culture.
In this work with Other Criteria, Mat Collishaw incites our polar attractions to beauty and corruption through his depictions of a debased nature.
Born in Nottingham, England in 1966, Mat Collishaw studied at Goldsmiths College of Art from 1986 to 1989, along with a number of other prominent international British artists. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Freeze in 1988, and Modern Medicine in 1990, and has had many solo exhibitions in the UK and internationally.
His work appears in important public collections including Tate, London and Centre Pompidou, Paris. He is represented by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York and Haunch of Venison, Zurich. Mat Collishaw lives and works in London.