Herbarium: Dark Season Botany, Museum of Garden History, London, 2011


Following a talk at the Museum of Garden History in 2008, Photolanguage exhibited work related to botanical representation in a solo show at the museum entitled Herbarium: Dark Season Botany, in January-February, 2011. This included previous work produced in Copenhagen, Malmö and the Isle of Thanet, but also included new, artefact-based work presented in perspex boxes and antique specimen books, labelled with fragments of a Linnean-based nomenclature of plant taxonomy.

Conceptually, the notion of dark season botany comprises a deliberate misreading of winter remains as a decorative part of the plant’s cycle; that in the dark season the plant has meaning and signifies in complex ways. Vegetal life in die-back can appear surreal, alien even, but it is also imbued with qualities of dormancy, latency, possessing a stored energy yet to be released, yet to be manifest. Therefore, the ‘dark’ aspect of our title does not simply imply the sinister, the degraded, but could be understood as something more hopeful: the darkness surrounding something yet to be made apparent, the obscurity of a future that is yet to come. In this sense, we associate our use of plants with themes of transformation and the utopian.


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