Inspired by a trip to Tokyo and Kyoto during the Sakura cherry blossom season, Braine has created extraordinary images that offer a fresh sense of awe and original interpretation of the immersive experience of Hanami, the traditional Japanese custom of viewing and honouring the transient beauty of the blossoms. In recognition of this phenomenon, these works convey both the profusion and fragility of the blossom petals from their magnificence on the branch to their life’s end on the ground below.
For her series, A Thousand Fallen Blossoms, Braine first photographed the pink blossomed tree branches. Although appreciative of photography’s ‘wonderful and magical capacity for exactitude’, it is the abstract qualities produced by manipulating the negatives that she finds so alluring. Imitating the ruination of the laden branches when the petals give way to the force of the breeze, Braine took a holepunch to her colour negatives and created hundreds of tiny discs containing fragments of the original blossoms.
Dropping these discs like ‘negative confetti’ onto the negative holder of the darkroom enlarger, Braine’s process echoes the flurry of falling petals as they drift in the wind from the branch to the ground. This random and unpredictable fall of the confetti creates a unique composition, which she prints only once before repeating the process.
Intrigued by the abundance of scattered petals covering the pavements, Braine made a series of 17 black and white images to form the basis of 10,000 Fallen Petals. Frustrated by the too descriptive nature of her photographs, she chose to apply tiny Japanese stickers to the negatives, individually covering each petal that had fallen to the pavement. For each petal, a sticker; 10,000 in all.
The title of this series draws on Braine’s art history expertise through its reference to a 17th century Chinese ink painting called 10,000 Ugly Ink Blots by artist and monk Shitao.
Aliki Braine (b.1976, Paris) studied at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, the Slade School of Fine Art and The Courtauld Institute, where she gained an MA distinction in the History of Art. For her visual arts practice she was awarded the Salon Art Prize, Matt Roberts Arts in 2012. She has exhibited nationally and internationally including London, Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Geneva and Jakarta. Her work has been published in numerous books and magazines and is held in both private and corporate collections worldwide.