In Conversation: Saelia Aparicio and Polly Brannan

Saelia Aparicio and Polly Brannon

Saelia Aparicio discusses her sculptural installation for Survey II, three dead astronauts, with artist, curator, consultant, and Artistic Director of Open School East, Polly Brannan.

three dead astronauts is a sculptural installation which reflects the fantasy that humans have control over nature, highlighting the unintended consequences of globalisation. A collection of anthropomorphic figures act as containers for ‘bad weeds’ to grow in, becoming hybrid plant-human forms. Originally introduced as exotic specimens for gardening and horticulture, these species such as Oaxalis (South America), Buddleia (Asia) and Mother of Thousands (Madagascar) have learnt to thrive in the UK climate.

About the speakers 

Saelia Aparicio explores the paradoxical spaces found inside the normal and the everyday. The terrifying is revealed with a sense of humour that destabilises our perception and invites us to journey into a space where other rules apply. Here we cross into a place in which we can be plants or concrete, spores or microplastics, a space which requires us to let ourselves go.

Saelia was born in Spain and lives and works in London. She completed her MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, (2015).  Saelia won Generaciones (2019) and was commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery to make the film Green Shoots for their General Ecology symposium and research project, The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish with Plants in London. Selected solo exhibitions include: Planta, Alzado, Raiz, The Ryder, Madrid (2019); Prótesis para invertebrados, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2019); The World of Craig Green and Saelia Aparicio, Matches Fashion and Frieze art fair, Carlos Place and Regents Park, London (2019); and Cadena Atrofica, Murcia, Spain in collaboration with designer Attua Aparicio from Silo Studio (2018). Recent exhibitions include In the Castle of my Skin, a participative show with Sonia Boyce, MIMA, Middlesbrough (2021);  Ferine, a collaborative exhibition with Paloma Proudfoot, TJ Boulting, London (2021); and From Creators to Creators, Kunsthaus Hamburg, Germany (2021).

Polly Brannan is an artist, curator, consultant and educator. In 2021 she was appointed as Artistic Director of Open school East, a free, independent arts school and community space in Margate. Polly was Education Curator at Liverpool Biennial 2012-18 and Education Curator at Serpentine Galleries 2011–13. She is Founder, Co-Director and artist with network Avant Gardening. She curated, delivered and produced large-scale commissions with artists Mohamed Bourouissa, Koo Jeong A, Ryan Gander, Monster Chetwynd, and Rehana Zaman amongst many others. Previous engagements include Triangle Network Fellowship, Ethiopia; Istanbul Biennale 2017, Turkey and Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India 2018. Polly is the 2021 Visual Arts Clore Fellow, supported by a-n The Artists Information Company.