Jyll Bradley

The National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia

In 2010 Bradley was invited to Canberra, Australia with a view to creating a new public-art project to mark the city’s centenary in 2013 (she was the only non-Australian artist to receive such an invite). On arriving in Canberra she was immediately struck by the vast numbers of trees, one million of which were nearly 100 years old, having been planted when the city was originally founded. For Bradley, trees became a means of understanding and exploring Canberra and her people. In response she created a suite of audio works, each of which focused on a particular tree or on a person in whose life trees played a pivotal role.

City of Trees was a major exhibition at The National Library of Australia (July- October 2013) which showed all the work that Bradley had made over the course of her three-year project. The centrepiece of the exhibition was a group of specially designed sound portals – architectural forms made for listening – that each housed an audio work. Reflecting the wider Library beyond the exhibition space, references to printing and works on paper, card and cardboard ran through the works and space, as well as references to light: the key to all green growth. City of Trees was commissioned by Robyn Archer and C100, Canberra. All audio works were created in collaboration with BBC radio producer Jonquil Panting.

Click here for exhibition essay by Michael Desmond

Click here for essay on City of Trees by Sarah Jayne Parsons

Film on the making of City of Trees by Rob Nugent

Constituent works:
Light Portals – lightbox diptych
Tree 20– audio work
Conversation with Trees after Fire– audio work
Amongst the Oaks– audio work
Architecture Makes Form; Trees Create Space – suite of 25 drawings on vintage herbarium paper
Scatterproof (Canberra) – suite of 12 photographic prints on Hahnemule paper

Arnolfini, Bristol, UK

In 2005 Bradley was commissioned to create a new work to mark the re-opening of Arnolfini, Bristol, after extensive renovations. Over several months she explored the city through interactions with its myriad gardening and flower-arranging groups (both amateur and municipal), which together make an important contribution to Bristol’s ‘green’, counter-cultural reputation.

Landscape with Flowers comprised a sculptural, back-lit panorama of flowers and plants that evolved through a series of ‘editions’, each of which were created in the Arnolfini’s gallery space in collaboration with the members of a different locally based horticultural group. The work explored the tension between the group and the individual: from a distance the piece appeared to be a seamless whole, yet up close it revealed itself to be a tapestry of great complexity, mirroring the wider city beyond the gallery walls. With the flowers dying back over five days and then being refreshed a number of times, Landscape with Flowers created a space that oscillated between gregarious activity during installation and the stillness of completion.

Landscape with Flowers was part of the wider opening group exhibition This Storm Is What We Call Progress. Artists: Julie Mehretu, Martin Boyce, Matthew Buckingham, Lee Mingwei, JMW Turner, Haluk Akakce.

Guided walk in Bedgebury Forest, Kent Commissioned by Duckie, UK

Light box installation
Light box, Duratrans mounted on Perspex, LED panel, powder-coated box, powder-coated steel panel
Dimensions variable

This work, showing images of women priests (all friends of the artist) in their churches explores the relationship between image and body. Here, the physicality and space of the light boxes in the gallery is echoed by that of the women and the spaces they occupy, creating a tension between self and architecture.