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'As Light as a Feather'
7 June - 6 July, 2024
13 Tottenham Mews, London

Opening: 6 June, 6 - 9 pm

lbf contemporary is delighted to announce 'As Light as a Feather', a solo exhibition of works by Austrian artist Florine Imo. 

I have always seen myself as one of the inhabitants of my painted universe.

Lately, I’ve sensed a shift in the atmosphere; my paintings are evolving. Forgiveness and sacrifice descend from the sky, intricately intertwined and inseparable.

 

An enduring radiance resides within the Earth Angel.

A perpetual light resembling an unwavering star.

 

Does it ever fade?

 

The Earth Angel surrenders to evil without fear or judgement, embracing only forgiveness in its heart.

 

When two Earth Angels cross paths, the world momentarily halts its rotation.

Everything freezes, suspended in a fleeting moment of eternity.

 

The celestial beings on my canvas whisper a tale of transcendence. An ethereal energy awakens within me as though their essence resides within me.

The canvas becomes a portal. I am going in.
 

— 

The genesis of ‘As Light as a Feather’ began in the Holy Trinity Church in Angel, London, where I created a new series of paintings and a sculptural installation. The final product is an immersive journey into the celestial realm of angels, exploring the multifaceted essence of femininity. The exhibition transforms lbf contemporary into an otherworldly sanctuary – a gateway to heaven created with ceramic feathers cascading from the ceiling and the mirrored floor mimicking celestial pathways, beckoning viewers to transcend the mundanity of earthly existence and enter my painted universe: the domain of Angels. Born from the confluence of my diverse artistic pursuits as a painter, sculptor, and poet, the exhibition is a testament to the interplay between spirituality, humanity, and personal introspection. At the heart of the exhibition are the Angels, my female reinterpretations of the otherworldly beings who partake in unique scenes challenging conventional perceptions of purity and perfection. 

 

Raised in a conservative Austrian village in the forests near Vienna, my childhood was rooted in Christian traditions until I encountered Buddhist philosophy whilst travelling across India with my mother as a teenager. The contrast in experiences inspired a recognition of the dualities surrounding me, an appreciation of spirituality, and an ongoing curiosity about the interconnected nature of humanity and the universe. These interests are the foundation for the themes and questions my practice continues to explore.

 

Faced with comments belittling the apparent ‘girliness’ of my early work, I began dissecting social expectations surrounding conventional notions of femininity. This exploration led me to depict women as wild animals, goddesses, and sirens who embody a fusion of strength and vulnerability. The evolution of my work culminated in the portrayal of goddesses presiding over elemental forces, sparking a fascination with the winged female figures that became the cornerstone of my latest series.  

 

Inspired by the enduring allure of angels in popular culture, my reinterpretation reflects a multifaceted, modern portrait of femininity which seeks to dismantle the dichotomy between purity and imperfection. My heroines are both fragile and indestructible, wounded yet resilient. The narrative I weave throughout this new series explores themes of sacrifice, resilience, forgiveness and the transformative power of love, challenging viewers to re-evaluate their perceptions of righteousness and vulnerability. With the emergence of a male character in this series, a new dimension develops, reflecting the complexities of relationships and the intertwining of pain and love amidst scenes of violence, intimacy, and extreme vulnerability. 

 

At its core, 'As Light as a Feather' prompts viewers to see and consider my Angels as a mirror – reflecting the multifaceted nature of femininity and inviting viewers to embrace their complexities. In an era where the 'bad bitch' archetype reigns supreme, my collection of grinning, bleeding, weeping angels offer a nuanced portrayal of femininity that celebrates both strength and nurturing, transcending boundaries between the earthly and the divine. 

–Florine Imo, edited by Charlotte Russell 

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