Winter Garden

19 Jan-5 Feb 2023


Not many remember a time when humans marvelled at the beauty and power of unnatural warmth in winter. When the first gilded, ornate greenhouses sprouted up throughout the grey landscape of England in the 19th century, we humans celebrated a landmark achievement in control over the natural world. In these synthetic solar oases, exotic living things from far-off ends of the Earth could be ordered, cloned, and harvested. It was a triumphant event for the history of botany and 19th century society. It may be hard to imagine a time when humans found so much to celebrate in the idea of a heated earth from where we stand today, but it is an entirely different experience to imagine what a greenhouse might come to represent when inserted into a futuristic post-climate change, apocalyptic, dreamscape. 


This exhibition takes the form of a greenhouse gone wrong. Here we can consider the space of the greenhouse, in particular its 19th century ideas/traditions, as a lens to consider sustainability and the climate crisis. A Victorian greenhouse of the future allows us to imagine what this former feat of human intelligence might look like in the landscape of climate change and whether or not it might even be possible or necessary. The artworks in this exhibition engage with biology and botany and transport us to other worlds and futures. Who knows what freaks of nature may flourish in an out-of-control environment of bizarre cross-pollination and alien life. Who knows what ideas we may draw from an image of a future not so distant, and not so unfamiliar.


The show is curated by Sophie Agocs and Olivia Middelboe. The artists participating are as follows: Byzantia Harlow, Gregory Herbert, Hannah Lim, Karolina Dworska, Katia Kesic, and Sophia Belkin.