Throughout history, occupying forces have sought to exert control over their territories through re-shaping and re-naming landscapes, landmarks, cities and even countries. New governments have embarked on large-scale landscaping projects and public park building, creating sites of national pride. Settlers have introduced the native plants of their homelands, re-creating the familiar, displacing the indigenous, and stamping their own identities on the land. In this exhibition, Silva explores what gardening might represent in the context of Israel’s contemporary colonisation of Palestinian territories.
Garden State comprises two installations created during a series of trips to sites between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River from 2010 and 2013. Wounded (2013), an immersive audio-visual installation, and Gardening the Suburbs (2014), a large-scale undulating wall installation made up of clusters of photographs of Israeli suburban gardens, both offer an unexpected view on gardening as a tool for colonial expansions, territory making and occupation.
Julian Stallabrass is a writer, photographer, curator and lecturer. He is Professor in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and is the author of Art Incorporated, Oxford University Press 2004. He is the editor ofDocumentary, in the MIT/ Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art series; and Memory of Fire: Images of War and the War of Images, Photoworks, Brighton 2013.
Garden State is part of the 2015 Chelsea Fringe.