The core of the exhibition is a group of new still life photographs, many set in a leafy, bucolic landscape. The mood of the show is established in A summers day picnic, where a small picnic of tea and biscuits is laid out on a small patchwork towel, as ornamental as it is nourishing. Here we find some of the key motifs in this body of work: an artificial bird, a large silver vase filled with flowers, cheap, everyday food and cosmetic jewelry all occupy the same ritualistic space. The picnic itself is at once casual and elaborate, its ersatz pageantry suggesting that a group of children were acting out a fairytale of their own devising. The mix of childishness and magic continues into The golden coins in the forest, where two blue tits appear excited about their find. In Fox with winter cache of food in the winter cave fox den, a jewel-bedecked fox looks over his snowy smorgasbord of schnitzel, cake and a cherry-topped sundae. Kilimnik deploys small toys to create tableaux that invoke stories, yet the viewer is in the position of trying to come up with tales that might match the pictures. The mood alters in Runway in field french countryside 1943, french resistance, where a WWII - era Lysander lands on a runway lit by mini bonfires. This mysterious ritual, at once childish and sinister, triggers a new range of ideas about the nature of the toys and their origin, or perhaps a darker history of the land upon which the rituals are enacted.
The toy planes that Kilimnik uses in the photographs will also be exhibited. The model Spitfires and Lancaster bombers, encrusted in jewels and placed on plinths, become decorative objects, useless even as toys or models. The rituals and tableaux depicted in the photographs might be taking place in the grounds of an aristocratic chateau or in the forests of Burgundy, alongside some of the most famous and prestigious vineyards in the world.
Kilimnik collects objects and images of fantasy, privilege and power, and transforms them with deft acts of decoration, a gesture that is both playful and iconoclastic. Images of wealth, artificiality and magic all occupy the same theatrical space, emphasizing how structures of authority can be undermined – or bolstered – by the wide-eyed innocence of a fairytale.