Without plants there would be no life on this planet. But is that why we appreciate them? What attention do we give them when we don’t need a bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day? What do we know about how trees communicate with each other? Or what ordinary dandelions do in the dark earth?
Building on the knowledge that our human worldview leads us to a dead end of ecological ignorance and thus to self-destruction, Frankfurter Kunstverein attempts to increase our awareness of “plant intelligence” and thus begin to rethink. The exhibition is seen as an interplay between science and art. That is why, in addition to the wonderful greenery from the world of contemporary art, so-called rheotrons can also be seen, for example. These are squares of measurement from the Institute for Bio and Earth Sciences at the Helmholtz Research Center in Jülich, which make it possible to monitor root growth of plants in different soil types.
From radical research to a work of art
Radical research is also being conducted by the Institute of Botanical Sociology in Klagenfurt, which uses photographic documents and accurate root drawings to convey an idea of the complex ecological interaction in soils. Diana Scherer, who works with living plant root systems, shows that the jump from scientific root graphics to artwork isn’t far off. Shearer directs the growth of oats root, for example, with the help of stencils made of bioplastics in such a way that a “texture” with fantastic structures is created – nature engineering.
The group of London artists Marshmallow Laser Feast also wants to make sense of the beauty of natural structures and networks: With the help of their virtual reality installation “Treehugger: Wawona,” visitors can immerse themselves in the metabolism of the giant sequoia tree at Sequoia National, California. garden.
An empathetic approach to the plant world
Berlinde De Bruyckere also creates an empathetic approach to the world of plants through “stuffed twins”. The Belgian Woman’s “Mummified Twins” is a two-century-old oak tree that was brought down by Hurricane Cyril in 2016. De Bruyckere’s sculptural rework gave the tree’s skeletons something oddly basic, and its presentation resembles a ritual layout. The viewer experiences the memory of weakness and time, with a tree-shaped “Memento mori”. Works by Thomas Feuerstein, Abel Rodriguez and Nicola Tovolini complete the show’s spectrum.
“Plant Intelligence” – until January 30, Frankfurt, Kunstvereen, Römerberg, Markt 44, Tue-Sun 11am-7pm (Thursday until 9pm), December 31. closed, 1.1. 2 pm – 7 pm; Information: www.fkv.de
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