MFA Razavi Bita

60000 €

Orchidelirium: An appetite for abundance To be exhibited at 59th Venice Biennale, 2022, and personal exhibition at Tallinn Art Hall, 2023

Tieteellinen tutkimus ja taiteellinen työ / niihin pohjautuva työ | Kaksivuotinen

'Orchidelirium: An appetite for abundance' is set in a conceptual garden, framed as a storehouse of knowledge where history, the present, and ecology are in a dynamic relationship with the evolving nature of humanity’s contradictory tendencies of construction, preservation, and destruction. As our social lives are conducted in and with reference to the environment, it follows that social categories like race, class, and gender are also ecologically constituted. The title of the project, Orchidelirium, references the 19th-century orchid craze when fascination for collecting the flowers erupted into hysteria. Orchid hunters searched rare species in Indonesian rainforests at the risk of their lives to be taken to upper-class living rooms. This project started with a collection of some three hundred images of tropical flowers, fruits, and vegetables produced during the first decades of the 20th century by a forgotten artist, E. R. Saal. Her works combine an artist’s eye with a scientist’s method to depict plants from different corners of the Dutch East Indies, then under the Dutch Empire. Saal’s works and its historical material that reveals the distressing details of colonial domination will be embedded in a garden that I will conceptualize as a play between what we see and what is invisible. The immersive experience of this garden will be constituted from shadows and projections of plants through glass sculptures. The shadows of the outside trees passing through windows will intertwine with shadows created by floral illustrations and representations of palm plantations. The shadows are a reference to plants that were once plucked from their native context and then trapped in herbariums, collected, sold, deracinated. Orchidelirium is a multidisciplinary project, in which researchers, historians, and artists from different fields and countries participate in the processes of creating the work that will be exhibited at 59th Venice Biennale, and Tallinn Art Hall.