Proximity Botanical Installation by Wona Bae & Charlie Lawler of Loose Leaf | Yellowtrace

Proximity Botanical Installation by Wona Bae & Charlie Lawler of Loose Leaf | Yellowtrace

 

Artists Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler of Loose Leaf have collaborated with photographer Sean Fennessy and The Establishment Studios on Proximity, a site-specific installation in a restored 19th-century church hall in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Playing on space and scale, the ephemeral artwork explores the role of nature and its interaction with the built environment.

Bae and Lawler worked with the building’s vast size, historic arches and column details, their installation enhancing the architectural bones despite looking as though set to overrun them. Sturdy green fronds engulf the surrounding columns and spill across the floor, a hyperbolic representation of something ‘overgrown’.

Loose Leaf specialises in experiential, concept-driven installations that present natural materials as provocative sculptural art in urban spaces. Themes of life and death, impermanence and the human-nature relationship reoccur across their work. Sean Fennessy is a Melbourne-based photographer who has worked with a number of international brands including Vogue Living, Acne Studios and the NGV. The Establishment Studios is a boutique photography and prop hire studio, based in the hall where Proximity was installed. Bae and Lawler met co-director Carly Spooner when working together on Empire by Rone.

We asked the pair some questions about their inspiration and process for Proximity. Read on for what they had to say.

 

Proximity Botanical Installation by Wona Bae & Charlie Lawler of Loose Leaf | Yellowtrace

Proximity Botanical Installation by Wona Bae & Charlie Lawler of Loose Leaf | Yellowtrace

 

+ What was your design inspiration for this project?

Proximity is an exploration of the relationship between nature and the built environment, which is an ongoing theme of both our work and overall design philosophy. We’re always in search of interesting spaces to create our work – we were particularly inspired by this building and Proximity is a result of this dialogue between the architecture and the artwork.

+ Your favourite thing about this project?

The best thing about this project was teaming up with Sean Fennessy and The Establishment Studios. Sean has an exceptional eye for observation and his background in design and architecture made such a difference to the photography. The Establishment Studios offered us their new space, which is situated inside a 19th century former church hall in Fitzroy, Melbourne. We were drawn to create something as soon as we saw the building and we’re so grateful co-director Carly Spooner supported this project.

We also loved the process of marrying the installation and the architecture, and the way the artwork interacts with its surroundings. We intentionally made it appear as though it was on the verge of taking over the entire space – its columns, the floor and walls.

 

Proximity Botanical Installation by Wona Bae & Charlie Lawler of Loose Leaf | Yellowtrace

Proximity Botanical Installation by Wona Bae & Charlie Lawler of Loose Leaf | Yellowtrace

 

+ What was the most challenging aspect of bringing this installation to life?

Time can be a challenge. We source fresh natural materials and then commence the process of drying and treatment, which can take up to months. The result however is worthwhile.

When we started the design process there was an initial thought that the building may dominate the final artwork, but in the end, we managed to ensure the scale balanced with the vast size of the space, so they worked in harmony.

+ What did you learn during the project?

We’ve been working with this material continuously for some time now; our relationship with it keeps evolving so that each time we start another project we discover new ways to work with it.

 

Proximity Botanical Installation by Wona Bae & Charlie Lawler of Loose Leaf | Yellowtrace

 

+ Would you have done anything differently?

Given our time constraints, we were only able to preview the project to a select number of people. For the next one we would envision displaying the work for a dedicated time and opening it to the public. We love observing the interaction between people and our work.

+ Any other interesting facts you could share with us?

The artwork’s form was intricate to create, that there were moments in the build we thought one of us might get stuck in the middle with no way out.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Loose Leaf. Photography by Sean Fennessy.]

 

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