Metamorphosis is a retrospective exhibition of photographs by Paris-based artist Vee Speers (b. 1962, Australia). Spanning over two decades, Metamorphosis traces the evolution of Speers’ storytelling. Her meticulously choreographed and stylised images embody themes of identity that are at once universal and extremely personal: childhood innocence, physical growth, and emotional awakening. Her subjects, rendered at various stages of life, don guises and props that evoke a fantastical existence, and hint at the tension between reality and performance. Metamorphosis unites five bodies of work, including a selection of images from Speers’ trilogy of portraits, taken between 2007 and 2017. Beginning with The Birthday Party (2007), Speers hosts an imagined celebration, in which young children singularly, dressed in costume, confront the camera. A muted palette of greys and whites invert expectations of a children’s party, resulting in a peculiar, almost apocalyptic encounter. This continues six years later in Bulletproof (2013), where Speers revisits each of these children, making a new set of portraits that find them in the midst of a fantastical adolescence. Dystopia (2017) completes the trilogy in which the same subjects emerge as strong-willed heroes. Transformation is also central to Speers’ most recent body of work, Phoenix (2020). The women depicted in these portraits are steadfast in the face of life’s obstacles, emerge confidently to tackle new beginnings. The flowers in Botanica (2016) are equally transformed. Photographed in black and white and then subtly coloured by Speers, the result is a slightly surreal naturalism, which runs through the whole of her work. Limited edition prints are available from £725 + VAT. Vee Speers: Metamorphosis is proudly supported by FANZA, The Foundation for Australian New Zealand Arts, a UK based charity which promotes and celebrates the range and vitality of Australian and New Zealand artists. This exhibition forms part of the UK/Australian Season of Culture 2021/2022.
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