Whimsical tendrils of grapevines, leaves, wisteria and chrysanthemums sprout from the artist Ian Berrys wild, overgrown garden lots. Tightly assembled and often hung from the ceiling, his recurring “Secret garden“Consists of flowers and foliage made entirely from recycled denim, creating haunting spaces filled with indigo plants in a variety of washes and fades.
Since his debut with the New York Children’s Museum of the Arts, Berry’s site-specific installation has gone through a few iterations. “The first was designed for kids … hence the more magical secret garden corner,” he says, “just to know where the material came from, see what they can do, and look for outdoor places within a city.” it has traveled to London, Barcelona, the Netherlands, France, Kentucky and the USA San Francisco Flower Martwhere it is permanently installed as a trellis line the windows of the room.
During the initial installation, damaged screws were removed from Cone denim, specifically the now closed White Oak Mill in North Carolina, known for its commitment to transparent cotton sourcing and its commitment to less water. Although many of Berry’s plants recycle discarded jeans, jackets and materials that are unusable for clothing and employ environmentally conscious companies such as employ Tonello washing and laser cutting the vines, sustainability is a minor element of his practice.
Instead, the east London-based artist focuses on having a broader conversation about the way communities change over time and the hope that people will find magic where it’s not necessarily expected. “The piece was born from the idea that a lot of kids in New York would grow up without a garden, and just as much of my work is about community in urban settings,” he shares. “After that, I wanted the parents and children to visit them – and they did.”
“Secret Garden” can be seen as part of Berry’s solo exhibition Very good isolationthat is until August 15th at Rijswijk Museum in The Hague, Netherlands. In October his work goes into the Textile Museet in Sweden, where it will be by May 2022. Discover a larger collection of his textile-based flower pieces his side and Instagram.
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