Marilyn, Flowers, Lips, Gun, Mirror, Cactus at Ordovas, London

Marilyn, Fowers, Lips, Gun, Mirror and Cactus at Ordovas in London is an inviting feast for the eyes. Colour is everywhere, spreading across to all the corners of the gallery space in the shape of cacti sculptures and pop art pictures.

Italian artists Guido Drocco and Franco Mello created over twenty cacti for this exhibition. First created in 1972 using expanded polyurethane and photoluminiscent Guflac. Drocco and Mello have transplanted their spectacular shining interpretations of this exotic desert plant to the middle of London. The luminous green cacti are dotted around the gallery, conjuring a surreal but playful experience, providing the perfect setting for an exhibition that celebrates the work from iconic artists of the pop art movement such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Tom Wesselmann. Bright artworks peep out from the stark white walls beyond the cacti forms, beckoning the viewer for a closer look.

‘Four Multicoloured Marilyns’ hangs on the wall opposite the front door, greeting viewers as beautifully and serenely as the real Marilyn would. Although Andy Warhol’s famous paintings and pictures of Marilyn Monroe were created after her premature and deeply saddening death, Warhol managed to capture her beauty in such a way through his vibrant pop art style, that he bought her back to life and immortalized the influential Hollywood star in vivid colour for viewers to admire for years to come.

With two cactus pillars standing either side, Andy Warhol’s ‘Orange Gun’ towers over viewers. Warhol took something meant only for death and destruction, an object that can only bring pain and sadness, and turned it into something beautiful - so beautiful that viewers forget that they're admiring a deadly weapon.

Another artist whose work is featured here also took something deadly and, using his unique style, created something stunning. Tom Wesselmann’s ‘Smoker #22’ sees a huge pair of the plumpest, most luscious red lips, while a delicate hand with perfectly painted nails brings a cigarette to the mouth. Viewers know, whether they smoke or not, that cigarettes add nothing to one’s health and in the long run can be just as deadly as the gun, but the beauty and elegance of the woman cannot be denied, even though only a fraction of her can be seen.

‘Smoker’ was created in 1975, a time when people weren’t as aware about the health risks of smoking, and smoking was in fact generally regarded as a glamorous pastime. What started out as a stunning painting in 1975, became a stunning painting with an entirely different message and viewpoint for those seeing it today. Sometimes the meaning of art is set in stone no matter what time it was made or viewed in, but sometimes, the meaning or mood an art piece exudes is completely transformed over time.

Marilyn, Flowers, Lips, Gun, Mirror and Cactus is a pop-art sensation that celebrates the extreme measures and incongruities that art travelled to in the 20th Century. Viewers will get lost in the desert forest of cacti sculptures and closed in by prickly figures, there will be no urgency to find a way out, awestruck and content under the captivating colours of the paintings by the old pop-art guard, that show no sign of fading.

Marilyn, Fowers, Lips, Gun, Mirror and Cactus is on at Ordovas, London until 16th December 2017.  More information may be found here.