We are delighted to be taking part in Papaver Rhoeas, an exciting new project from artist Paddy Hartley.
Hartley has created a series of hand-crafted poppies using pathologically preserved lamb’s heart tissue, produced by a unique team of art and science practitioners, funded by the Wellcome Trust. Addressing contemporary notions of remembrance and memorialisation, the works will be placed in a diverse range of London-based cultural institutions from November to coincide with the World War One commemorations.
Composed of lamb’s heart muscle tissue, horsehair and vintage suture cotton, the poppies are presented in glass-blown jars designed in the form of used World War One artillery shells. Varying in colour and composition, the poppies have been designed to transition from solid object to transparent ghost-like forms, and in some cases to disappear.
Through these works Hartley explores our compulsion to memorialise those lost to conflict across the globe, and offers an alternative form of remembrance. The temporary status of the poppies reflects the highly volatile and variable nature of both personal and social memory. Acknowledging all lives lost during conflict whether they are service personnel or civilian, young or old, or from any faith or ethnic background, the works emphasise our universally shared vulnerability of the flesh.
Papaver Rhoeas will go on display in the Museum’s Introductory Gallery from 3 November.