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[Exhibition] Ghost and John, Entwine: the Avocado Sculptures (2023)


Ghost and John in conversation with Sandra Lam, installation view of Entwine: the Avocado Sculptures, 2023, Holborn Library, London. 

Laying precariously on glass bottles that previously held wine, soy sauce or olive oil, curving stems grew out of the stone-like seeds and formed shapes as if they were hugging themselves for warmth, or strangling themselves from suffering. These are the sculptures created by the multidisciplinary art duo Ghost and John over the past three years.

Living in London, Ghost and John have been exchanging cuttings with friends and growing from food scraps, including avocado seeds. They have been tending to these avocados, gently bending and tying the green sprouts into sculptures. These ‘living sculptures’ have watched Ghost and John’s relationship grow as they moved flats, married, met new friends, developed projects, etc. These plants endure time with the couple and witness every laugh and tear in their everyday lives.

Ghost and John have always been fascinated by Penjing or Bonsai, commonly seen in Hong Kong. It is a miniature of nature and utopia, simultaneously a record of roots and history. Through pruning and decorating the plant, it symbolises collaboration between humans and nature, connecting the past and the present.

Tending to plants has become an ongoing interest and daily meditation for Ghost and John. They collect seeds, grow and create these sculptures that visualise psychological states of being and the complexity of human conditions. The sculptures that have a Molotov-cocktail-like appearance are also imbued with socio-political content that deals with issues of identity, race, religion, immigration and climate emergency.

Each sculptural plant depicts an emotion, situation or story from the artists’ imagination, telling their own stories of emigration and belonging. Their strange organic shapes simultaneously convey opposing ideas such as beauty and disfiguration, joy and despair, growth and dormancy. These dualities convey that there are multiple dimensions to every person that are sculptured by past experiences, choices and failures, but also success, serenity and hope.

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