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The Peony and the Wind

My photographs of the peony often tell of longing, and perhaps also of the fragility and brevity of life.

The English poet John Keats (1795–1821) once wrote the following to a friend: ’….the rise, the progress, the setting of imagery should like the Sun come natural to him — shine over him and set soberly although in magnificence leaving him in the luxury of twilight.’.

I use plants that I have grown or collected myself. They are often associated with my childhood, such as roses, amaryllises, hoyas and lilacs. I especially remember peonies in my grandmother’s garden.

My photographs of the peony often tell of longing, and perhaps also of the fragility and brevity of life. The Peony and the Wind exhibition proceeded from plants that I have grown myself and small shoots of ideas, recollections and inspiring experiences of art towards the final realization of the works.

I was inspired by a peony growing in my yard and its wind-beaten blossoms. In the summer of 2016, early July was very hot, and the flowers were not long in bloom. I photographed the works during a few summer nights. The Peony opened its buds in daytime. I recorded images of the opened blossoms at night when they were still at their best. The photographs repeat the themes of nature in bloom, transience and mortality. In the images, the flowers live strongly forever.

Hämeenlinnassa 28.8.2016

Marjukka Vainio