In partnership with Acme Studios, students from the Curating Contemporary Art MA present Planta: Notes on Botanical Dissidence at the Acme Project Space, as part of an ongoing partnership between the Royal College of Art and Acme Studios Residency & Awards Programme.
Premised on the investigative model of note-taking, the group show is an exploration into the conceptual potential of plants, often silently present but frequently neglected in the overarching discourses of history. The exhibition includes work by Candice Jacobs, Milou van der Maaden, Isa Melsheimer and Rachel Pimm.
In bringing together the work of these artists, the show suggests ways in which ‘plant processes, as well as vegetal images and metaphors,’ could, in the words of philosopher Michael Marder, begin to ‘exert a formative influence on thinking.’
The work of Milou van der Maaden, recipient of Acme’sAdrian Carruthers Studio Award, was a catalyst for the show’s theme; plants are both props and prompts in her pieces, linking the ‘here’ of the artwork with the ‘elsewhere’ of the complex legacies of the Dutch-Indonesian colonial past. Her new work "Tell it to the plants" (2015), especially commissioned for this exhibition, addresses the parallels between the botanical and human body, instrumentalised by science at the service of intelligence forces.
Starting in botanical gardens across Europe, Isa Melsheimerretraces the journey of plants across oceans. Her multi-media research investigates the shift in plants’ value from ‘green gold’ during the colonial age to their banalisation as contemporary commodities. Mobility and rootedness are addressed differently by Rachel Pimm, in a deadpan commentary of plants as post-colonial symbols of affluence. Through her films on corporate green-washing, Pimm considers the boundaries between the natural and the artificial. Corporate environments are also alluded to in a series of prints by Candice Jacobs, which explores the aesthetic codes of plants in the workplace.
An event on Thursday, May 14, How to breathe and feel with plants? will include a presentation at 6:30pm by Michael Marder, Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, on a book co-authored with Luce Irigaray. The talk will be followed by a discussion with artists Milou van der Maaden and Rachel Pimm.