A conversation between the artist Anna Skladmann and daffodil specialist Johnny Walkers. Johnny Walkers’ gold medal winning Narcissus flowers from the Chelsea Flower Show in 2016 are the subject of Anna’s exhibition The Man With The Midas Touch – A Botanical Index of Narcissus. In 2018 Walker won his 25th consecutive gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Anna and Johnny will talk about breeding daffodils, the history of photography and perhaps even the myth of the Narcissus flower. There will also be an opportunity to see the exhibition which will be in the central ‘Nave’ of the Museum, filling the building with spring blooms and saying goodbye to the winter months.
This exhibition has been supported by the Gaia Art Foundation.
Anna Skladmann’s (b. 1986, Bremen, Germany) artistic medium combines photography and scanning techniques to reflect critically on aspects of contemporary life and politics exploring notions of nature and society, cultivation and the machine. She is interested in the archive and categories produced and re-produced as well as being embedded in literature and mythology.
Having received her MA from the Royal College of Art and her BA from Parsons School Of Design, her work has since been nominated for the Prix Pictet and Paul Huf Award, and has also won the Arles Photo Folio Prize. Skladmann published her first monograph in 2011 and her photographic projects have been shown in exhibitions and festivals, including the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, Museum of Modern Art in Moscow, Fotofest International in Houston, Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg.
Permanent Collections include The Maramotti Collection, The Museum Of Fine Arts Houston, The Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Stiftung für die Hamburger Kunstsammlung and The Pinault Collection.
Johnny’s parents were Dutch bulb growers so bulbs are in his blood. After leaving college he worked with his father for a short time before going to work for a fledgling bulb co-operative. As Quality Manager and Agronomist to 80+ growers all over the UK he gained vast experience in all manner of bulbs although daffodils were his passion. By the time he left the company to set up his own business the co-operative was exporting 5000 tonnes of daffodils all over the world. In order to gain exposure for his young company Johnny started showing at the RHS and other shows and soon earned the sobriquet ‘The Man with the Midas Touch’ because of his habit of bringing home a Gold Medal for his display of daffodils. Along with Premier awards and Best in Show 3 times at Harrogate Spring Show he has had 29 Gold Medals at Chelsea Flower Show with the last 25 consecutive.