An image of The memory of nature

Janet Laurence

(Australia 1949 – )

The memory of nature

Not on display
Further information

Janet Laurence’s sculptural installations address the fragility of natural environments and questions of sustainability. Her works emphasise states of transformation as well as cycles of life and death, typically mingling organic matter and scientific instruments with references to museum modes of display.

'The memory of nature' includes materials reprised from an earlier work by Laurence titled 'Waiting: a medicinal garden for ailing plants', which was installed in the Royal Botanical Gardens for the 2010 Biennale of Sydney. Assuming the form of a makeshift glasshouse, 'Waiting' functioned as an ‘intensive care unit’ for sick plants that evoked a state of environmental crisis. In stark contrast, 'The memory of nature' presents to viewers the aftermath of that effort, situating the carefully preserved remains of now-dead plants alongside other objects such as taxidermied owls and burnt bones. Evoking the form of both museum vitrines and historical monuments, the work stands as a memorial to nature now lost.

Place of origin
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
acrylic, scientific glass, dried plants, seeds, sulphur, salt, amethyst, taxidermied owls, shellac, tulle, wood, burnt bones, hand bones, hand-blown glass, oil paint, mirrors
180.5 x 300.5 x 170.3 cm overall
Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales Contempo Group and the Contemporary Collection Benefactors with the generous assistance of Geoff Ainsworth AM, Peter Braithwaite, Sally Breen, Andrew & Cathy Cameron, Ginny & Leslie Green, Michael Hobbs, Ray Wilson OAM 2012
Accession number
© Janet Laurence