Laetitia Olivier-Gargano, Nonna made polpette (detail), 2020, polyurethane resin, polymer paint, polymer clay, beer bottle, gum branch, ceramic plate, dung beetles.
Laetitia Oliver-Gargano, Egg Orchids (detail), 2021, installation view at Firstdraft. Photography by Zan Wimberly.
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Planting a garden in my head

7 December 2024 - 19 January 2025


Artist(s): Laetitia Olivier-Gargano

Location: The Atrium

This exhibition presents a suite of new hyper-surreal sculptures exploring the meditative qualities of suburban reality. 

Inspired by Japanese suiseki or scholar’s rocks that are valued for their aesthetic qualities, Laetitia creates compositions of organic matter in the form of rocks and food that can also be meditated on for their pleasing aesthetic qualities. The seemingly meaningless, mundane stone, or perhaps a hamburger, is elevated through the act of it’s being exhibited. Transcending ordinariness to become the focal point of deep thought, the sculptures focus on a contemplative beauty, juxtaposing nature with everyday objects and junk food. The viewer is invited to appreciate and acknowledge the beauty in refuse and the comfort in foods with little nutritional value. 

Planting a garden in my head utilises playful combinations of domestic items to examine nostalgia, optimism, nihilism, and the messy bouquet of life. 

Laetitia Olivier-Gargano

Laetitia’s practice is driven by a close survey of food, plants and everyday objects, through surreal sculptural reimagining. By blurring the boundaries of complex yet recognisable forms her work playfully incites both a sense of wonder and unease. These edible and domestic items speak to deeply personal emotions, memories and associations. Her work often engenders bodily responses from viewers due to their intense familiarity, yet complete absurdity. Our stomach turns, and we want to look away, but curiosity stops us. It is this uncanny sensation and the universality of it that her works make us aware of.

Laetitia is an emerging artist, currently based in Melbourne.  She graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) from Monash University. Her work has been exhibited nationally at institutions such as Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Cement Fondu, Notfair and Firstdraft. Her work has also featured in Broadsheet, Artist Profile and Art + Australia journals. In 2019 Laetitia received the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists, administered by NAVA. She undertook research in Japan, learning how to make their iconic plastic food samples. Laetitia’s practice often involves “hyper-surrealistic” resin cast sculpture, stop-motion animation and works on paper.

Friday, 6 December, 6-8pm

The opening night, with speeches and a Welcome to Country, will be held at Incinerator Gallery alongside exhibitions Body Field, Fireworks 2024 and Bright Sparks 2024.

School Holiday Art Making Workshop
Friday, 17 January 2025

Join artist Laetitia Olivier-Gargano for a school holiday art making workshop for tweens/teens aged 9-15 years, inspired by the fantastical food in her exhibition Planting a garden in my head.

In this workshop students will create mini fake food dishes made from air dry clay and resin. Students will be taught techniques to mix realistic colours, create textures, and get to take home their final creation.