El sistema inteligente de las plantas
DIANA SCHERER es una artista conceptual alemana que vive y trabaja en Holanda. Animales y naturaleza han sido hasta ahora sus campus de ‘investigación’ y experimentación artística. Después de una famosa serie de fotografías de mujeres y árboles su obra se ha enfocado en las flores, y más recientemente en las raíces como una especie de condición inteligente de las plantas. No es fácil seguir su obra en el tiempo, pero hay una coherencia evidente entre la serie Mujeres (Women) y la serie Cogecha (Harvest). En su obra más reciente la artista busca domesticar el crecimiento de las raíces de las plantas de manera a conseguir la emergencia de bajos relieves impresionantes. A los japoneses les encanta domesticar la parte aérea de los árboles. A Diana el objeto conceptual de su más reciente trabajo es la domesticación de los sistemas radiculares (inteligentes) de las plantas y flores.
António Cerveira Pinto
Using subterranean templates as molds, the root systems of plants are channeled, forming a textile-like material. During the growth process, the roots conform to the patterns and the root material weaves or braids itself. For my research, I collaborate with biologists and ecologists of the Radboud University in Nijmegen.
—in Diana Scherer’s official webpage
THE HUMAN RACE has a long history of bending nature to its will. The results of this relationship can be devastating—but they can also be strikingly beautiful, as German artist Diane Scherer skillfully proves with her low-relief sculptures made from plant roots. Scherer grows these works of art by planting oat and wheat seeds in soil, and then carefully, meticulously, warping the growth pattern. She prefers to train her roots into geometric patterns found in nature, like honeycomb structures, or foliate designs reminiscent of Middle Eastern arabesques.
Margaret Rhodes, ”Artist teaches roots to grow in beautiful, alien patterns”, Wired (2016/12) – Weblink
In “Nurture Studies,” Scherer collects wildflower seeds from which she never knows what kinds of flowers will grow, plants them in vases of different shapes and forms and takes care of them with all her heart for six months to a year. At the moment of blooming, the vases that have housed the flowers are removed, and a photograph is taken. Floor Tinga, a Dutch journalist, compared this act of taking off vases to “removing the plant’s corset” (“A Tender Collector,” Nurture Studies, Amsterdam: Van Zoetendaal, 2012). When the vases are taken off, the roots of the flowers all tangled in the soil expose themselves in the same shapes and forms of the unseen vases. The artist’s act of ‘removing corsets’ invites us to confront the life and emotion of a woman who has grown up as a flower locked inside a pot, not knowing it was a wildflower.
— in 화색선율, Visages of Mme. Fiore [2016.7.14 – 8.27], KOROGRAM – Weblink
With Nurture Studies, Diana Scherer presents an archive of flowers she has grown from seed over a six-month period. Rather than letting the flowers grow in open soil, she has forced each plant to develop within the confines of a vase. Only at the end of the process does she remove the plant’s corset, exposing roots that retain their shape as an evocation of the now absent vase.
There is an inherent contradiction in Scherer’s working method. Although she is dedicated to the project and keeps a close eye on whether the roots are developing as desired – checking them carefully and with the utmost precision – her ability to manipulate the plants’ growth is limited. She has to accept the impossibility of total control. This contrast between almost obsessive monitoring and an inability to fundamentally influence events becomes an intense, almost ritual presence in her work. Scherer’s photos are carefully rationed, showing a single moment as the culmination of a long process of growth. She documents the flowers at their peak, just before they begin to shrivel as the plants start to die.
The floral portraits form a pendant to earlier photo series in which Scherer opted for much rawer imagery, things like young girls lying on the ground with their backs to the camera, collapsed like rag dolls, so that viewers almost automatically think of them as victims (Mädchen, 2002-2007). In Nurture Studies this confrontational imagery has made way for subtlety. Although the flowers, with their exposed roots, look just as fragile as the girls, Scherer avoids any semblance of drama, mainly by the objectivity of her photographic style, arranging the plants upright in the frame and photographing them with a technical camera. This approach is consistent with the orderly way collectors catalogue their objects.
Nurture Studie, Natural Recall
The work of German-born artist Diana Scherer explores what she calls “the dynamics of belowground plant parts.” She uses plant roots themselves as a medium for creating patterns and networks, the purpose of which is to suggest overlaps between human technological activity and the embodied “intelligence” of living botanical matter. “This buried matter is still a wondrous land,” she writes.
Geoff Manaugh, “Rootkit”, BLDGBLOG – Weblink