For their art project A Paradise Diffusion, artist Peter Baldinger and olericulture expert Wolfgang Palme unite the useful with the enjoyable, the vegetable and the decorative gardens. Nature was once tamed by humanity and moulded into Baroque geometry, intended to bloom, smell fragrant and enchant. During this installation at the Privy Garden, it will regain its freedom, bear fruit, and delight the visitor with edible results.
Baldinger frequently explores the Baroque style in his art. His Diffusion paintings from the early 2000s, which sometimes recall the teeming ceiling frescoes of that time, are one example. In A Paradise Diffusion he plays with the concept of a Baroque garden. He has placed the Paradise Diffusion Cube exactly at the intersection of the main and horizontal axes on the upper southern terrace in the Privy Garden. It blocks the line of sight from the former aviary to the Orangery beside the Lower Belvedere and explores the concepts of reflections and axes in the garden design. Thus our gaze is distracted by the reflections and interrupted by the cube, which is turned at a forty-five-degree angle to the garden’s axes. Rather than usual reflections, the cube’s surfaces produce a unique, diffuse image in a physical sense, like halls of mirrors at fairs. The artist does not describe the Paradise Diffusion Cube as an artwork or sculpture. It is a “quiet” intervention, almost invisible between the architecture and garden. The essential aspect is what the visitors walking through the vegetable garden believe they recognize amidst this Baroque ambiance and ephemeral “Paradeiser” (Austrian German for tomatoes). It is about the experience of a moment in paradise that cannot be pinned down.
The artistic arrangement of vegetable rarities in the beds of Prince Eugene’s former Privy Garden allows our minds to wander through the history of garden art from antiquity to the twenty-first century. Fruit and vegetables for food and flowers for decoration have always been cultivated in the gardens of ruling houses, by churches, abbeys and monasteries, by the nobility, bourgeoisie, industrialists and artists. Following on from Peter Baldinger’s Beethoven Bed in 2012, A Paradise Diffusion adds a new “moment” to the experience of the Belvedere Garden.
The Belvedere Privy Garden can be accessed via the Lower Belvedere and is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, Wednesday from 10 am to 9 pm.