Bringing my wife
To the botanical garden
A wild flower*
The main distinction between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ in Western thought
also concerns, among other things, the dispute regarding the definition of
the essence of man and the shaping of his personality. One perception
views man as a product of nature, and in accordance, views his
development, identity, and personality as influenced mainly by his biology
and genetics. Another perception emphasizes the dominant roles of
environment and culture in the formation of a person. This exhibition
questions the authenticity of what is mostly defined as ‘natural’ as
opposed to the cultural constructions that formulate characteristics of
identity. The exhibition name, ‘The Nature of Things’, embodies a
presumption that things have a monolithic a priori solid nature that can be
seen as an axiom. The undisputed status of the ‘natural’ is examined here
from a skeptical standpoint.
The botanical garden where the exhibition is held suggests an act of
‘encapsulating’ nature in a way that invites discussion and thought about
the popular dichotomous distinction between the natural and the artificial
while blurring their accepted boundaries. On the one hand, it presents
‘natural’ vegetation in its common sense. On the other hand, it can be
defined as having an artificial nature; it is selected, collected, transported
from afar, sorted, and categorically displayed as a collection of plants
being strictly groomed daily.
The exhibition sharpens the question of nature’s authenticity, shaken
already by forming the garden as a research garden, and it presents it only
through its images.
Various and diverse artistic techniques are used here to present symbolic
instantiations related to the garden’s concepts lexicon. They stretch into
the realms of fantasy: A sensual iridescent field of flowers made of a
synthetic collage (Ye’ela Getsov); a pool of black water with emerging
plastic flowers (Dina Shenhav); paper bird wings (Eilat Karmi); and a
young fiberglass visitor (Vered Aharonovitz) are presented next to
bouquets made of wax (Shira Zelver), of plastic and garbage (Einat
Arif-Galanti), and offer the garden’s visitors a dreaming realm.
The Greek philosopher Plato argued that art is dangerous, as it presents a
false image, pretending to be the thing itself. By doing so, it not only
distances itself from the ‘true’ idyllic essence of things, he claims, but it
also sabotages moral values, leading them astray. The argument here is on
the contrary: as I see it, the image or the metaphor takes part in the
cultural discourse that identifies itself openly as a region for thinking
about things from a distance, precisely because of their defamiliarization.
In fact, in this sense, the artistic imagery allows observation, a renewed
intimate closeness to the being of things, to the world
* Written by Noam Geva, published on the ‘Daily Haiku’ website.
Curator: Neta Gal-Azmon
Director and head curator: Gaby Hamburg-Fhima
YAAR – A space for art in the Jerusalem botanical gardens