One of the group of Young British Artists who gained renown after the 1988 exhibition Freeze, Matt Collishaw decided to distance himself from the sensationalism of his early work, and to focus on a more ambiguous equilibrium between beauty and disquietude.
Many of his photographic and video works unite an eye educated in the classics of art history with a subtle malaise with Victorian overtones. One of the first series of photographs in this new direction, begun around the mid-1990s, includes numerous shots of lily and amaryllis flowers as symbols of a diseased sexuality: “I was inspired by a 19th century dandy who became this obsessive collector of flowers and locked himself away in his mansion with them. The decadence got to such a point that his flowers became diseased, like his mind was sickening… I thought it was a good image to work on.” (J. Lack, Dazed and Confused, www.matcollishaw.com).