Alina Tang is an artist, florist and printmaker. SJ Finch is a writer, performance artist and producer. Both hail from the great West and together they explore the practice of floral performance and femininity in their work Five Petals. An intimate one-on-one performance, the audience is taken on a enchanted journey of past loves by participating in various cultural flower practices. This concept of floral performance comes from a mutual interest in performance art and the wonder of flowers,what the artists describe as ‘biological phenomena, cultural icons and inter species communication’.
Five Petals continues an ongoing collaboration between Alina and SJ. All previous investigations have been driven by a love of flowers and an intrigue with the cultural practice of giving and appreciating flowers. Their last collaboration was Anthologia, a floriographic show presented in an exhibition space called Paper Mountain in Perth. The duo describe this work as “a constructed language of flower meanings by SJ Finch and curated poetry from female poets in response to the language.” Alina then constructed ten flower sculptures and installations in response to the work. They’ve also collaborated on Tussie Mussies, a mobile flower cart that engaged with members of the public to create custom bouquets and discuss the meaning of the flowers. Sounds utterly whimsical right?
As a collaborative duo, these two artists have all bases covered in their creative approach. SJ is a thinker. He will always start a project with a pile of books. He’s interested in the language constructed around flowers and the symbolic structuring of the act of giving flowers. Alina is a doer. She starts with a hands on approach, making, testing and designing. She is interested in the performance, it’s aesthetic and the emotional and sensory impact on the audience. Together they make a pretty killer team.
By presenting Five Petals at Crack Theatre Festival 2016, SJ says they aim to provide individuals “the experience of loving and losing that love, how it affects your development as a person, and how that in turn affects your relationship with the world and its beauty.” So what can audiences expect? Well Alina says, “eating flowers and pressing petals into soft clay. Small sensory experiences that inspire reverence and tap into deep emotions and inexplicable affections.”
Speaking excitedly about premiering this new work at the Festival, Alina says, “We feel like one-on-one participatory performance art benefits from a diverse group showing, and since most people that would see the work at Crack Theatre Festival are artists who are already quite familiar with performance art tropes we are anticipating very engaged, active, and considerate audience members.”
I can’t wait to take part in what sounds like an utterly magical, heartbreaking and immersive experience that engages with some pretty interesting and deep concepts around love, femininity and the cultural practice of appreciating flowers. As these amazing artists hail from my home state, and I’ve seen them in action, I can guarantee you’re in for a treat.
What they are all about: performance art, flowers, feminist literature, thinking deeply about gift giving, relationships and loving.
A tiny taster of what’s to come: small sensory experiences, a floriographic museum, falling in and out of love.
Alina Tang and SJ Finch are our Setting the Stages artist from WA. Experience the sensory performance, Five Petals on Thursday 29 Sep and Friday 30 Sep from 4:30pm – 9pm at Gallery Sixty One Revisited.