Anna Blessmann selected exhibitions and projects

UPPLEMENTARY. From a plywood desk lit softly by lamp, the evening’s last light, and a glowing screen. We see the stage from rear left, the shot cropped close on HUO’s top half. In a soft black collared coat, he makes his introductions while assistants remove the unused lectern next to him. Between the camera and the stage a young man in lumberjack check scratches his head.

Saville and Blessman enter from stage right. They pass the lectern and make for the blue chairs at the other side. The camera wobbles as it unlocks position and pans across to meet its new subjects. Peter directs Anna to the furthest chair while he gathers up his microphone and tests for sound. Sound good and stage set he eases to his seat. They both have black coats but to his soft, worn blue jeans she contrasts leather trousers and to his loafers a pair of steep, thick, high-heeled boots.

Peter begins, holding his mic assuredly in the tips of his fingers. He says he once saw a crate which bore the legend ‘pre-cooled flowers’. It makes him think of the audience, who are wrapped in blankets. Here too it is approaching dark. The camera cuts to a new angle from rear left. Peter leans into a silver laptop, which sprouts a clutch of coloured cables and an image occupies the screen. An iconic record cover. He says it is a collision of two fin-de-siecle moments: Romanticism and Postmodernism; blooms in pink and white and language as colour-coded squares. Next, Pantone grids catalogue flower shades in Kensington Gardens. At the time, he says, he was interested to create a ‘contemporary’ flower: a flower for the lobby of IBM in the year 2000, perhaps.

Now we see a lilac-blue, single-stemmed flower, abstracted against a white background and faded to allow its structure through, an internal geometry. The image was made with his best friend Trevor Key. Then another, same type, different colour, different form. Back then, Peter imagined these flowers in patterned arrangements, had become interested too in the hybridity of language of floral forms: mendel tulip orange wonder. But with Trevor’s death, this shared project, Natural Geometry, came to an end.

The camera cuts. Now Anna speaks, seen from the back-right of the dome. Alone at home one evening, she found herself staring towards a static TV screen, a single flower between it and her gaze. The white-noise light seemed to disintegrate its borders as the petals reciprocally shading its glow. She worked at this time on the screen as a pattern, its inherent fracturing, on how the closer you get the less you see. She shows us such an image, blocky pixels chip at the edges of a single orange flower, beaming up or breaking down. At this time she began collecting artificial flowers from the shops on the Uxbridge Road. This shared interest, Peter says, generated TV Blumen.

Peter brings another image and cranes at the screen behind him for a larger view. It is their HOBBYSHOP CROCHET DE PARIS. The words appear on a white rectangular background, beneath a smaller block of blue (taken from the patterned screen of a cathode-ray TV) on which appears another half-dissolving flower. Anna crocheted this flower herself, tells Peter, and Anna chuckles softly into her mic. His interest in the flowers is half banal, half exotic. Anna giggles. Flower two pound crazy polyester trouble free. Flower three kindergarten cut and fold. Peter holds his mic upwards, and reads the titles while Anna, who holds hers sideways towards her lips, explains the story of each flower. This one is all blushing pink centre and orange rim. With each story Anna laughs quietly to herself . A bottle of mineral water stands next to the laptop, open but not drunk.

The next flower, all bilious green angles, is what it says it is, painted carrier bag artisan, made by Anna’s father, and a mobile beep-beeps. design master chinese feather was found in a fake flower store amidst a whole block of the same. New York. Anna peers out to the audience as Peter narrates more. Her cheeks rise a little as she smiles and swallows at the same time. She says the artificial flower is the highpoint of artificiality. Tricking right up to the touch, they are perfect deception. The camera switches to another angle.

New concept old gold hybrid america. Peter eyes quickly at Anna as she hesitates over ‘histamine’. He ‘translates’ her and carries on. Leonardo ultra blue daily heimat films. kindergarten chance Martin creed like scrumpled ball. miss pirelli soft erotic objective backdrops give real homes to fake blooms. It’s another phase of evolution, man makes nature now. world of sex ultra blush is unsettling says Peter, says Anna, disgusting. FOLIAGE PARADISE, DEADLY NIGHTSHADE glass teardrops.

Then last a graphic bunch. Twelve flowers all gridded. A philosophical endnote: we have, they say, a natural instinct for flowers’ frail beauty, a congenital phytophilia. Does this innate love stretch to artificials? Or are these fragile forms, life without death, only hollow disappointment?

Will Holder

Copyright Anna Blessmann