A Japanese temple is perched on a pink crisp packet in a field of pink blossom scattered with plastic bridges. It is hard to imagine this photograph, Through the Valley, was taken on a pavement in Chiswick, west London. In another photograph, Paradise, taken in a wasteland in Canary Wharf, a discarded Sprite bottle hangs over a brick, recreating a tropical waterfall complete with a miniature woman perched on a bottle lid in a pool of lemonade, while Foraging, taken near a railway track in Chiswick, shows a miniature man standing on a leaf with a supermarket trolley reaching up to some raspberries. In The Glade, a tiny woman sits on a matchstick swing hung from an over-arching weed in Crystal Palace with cigarette butts littering the floor. In The Jetty, meanwhile, taken on the South Bank, a child dives off the ice lolly stick and another frolics in the lake of melted ice cream.
Slinkachu has been placing miniature people on the streets of cities around the world since 2006. His latest body of work, Miniaturesque, was shot in London over the last year. At first glance, the photographs capture idyllic glades and green pastures, but in reality they are just moss and weeds set in the cracks of London pavements.
“I was interested in exploring how we interact with nature in urban areas. I feel in cities we have a love/hate relationship with the natural world – we hanker after it, but at the same time we want to control and contain it,” says Slinkachu. “I took inspiration (or tropes and cliches) from things such as landscape paintings of the past, baroque paintings like Fragonard’s “The Swing” and imagery from films such as The Sound of Music – nostalgic, almost dreamlike representations of nature,” he says. “I create magical worlds that don’t really exist – when you pull back, it’s actually an empty and not very appealing world.”
Slinkachu’s miniature people are then left in situ or “abandoned” by the artist. “The figures really are lost and alone after I leave and I don’t know what happens to them.”
Slinkachu/Miniaturesque, Andipa Gallery, London SW3 (www.andipa.com), until 11 April.