Cell Memory - Thank You Plant, 2016 - 2018
video stills, drawings
Commissioned work for The Hortus Botanicus in Haren (Groningen The Netherlands), commissioned by Stichting Behoud de Groene Hortus in collaboration withTAAK
Film and permanent video installation.
Work in progress
With the generous support of the Mondriaanfonds
About Cell Memory, Thank You Plant, realisation, 2018-2019 (TAAK press):
The video installation Cell Memory, Thank You Plant of Wineke Gartz in the Chinese Flower Pavilion of the Ming Garden, Hortus Haren is about paying attention: to plants, to growth, to light, to the Hortus, and about perception.
In response to an invitation from the Hortus Haren and TAAK, Gartz visited the gardens of the Hortus on multiple occasions. She filmed in the gardens in different seasons, and saw an analogy between the resilience of nature and the manner in which The Hortus has fought for existence since losing its primary, scientific function. She saw how the organization—just as the gardens—has grown, changed, and moved forward.
In her video, Gartz captures the continuous transitions of nature and the earth. She draws parallels between developments and processes at the micro level of the plants, the “meso” level of the Hortus, and the macro level of the world and universe. This vision is reflected in her many changes of focus—from close-ups of plants and flowers to long-distance views of paths, fields and lines of sight.
In the Chinese Flower Pavilion, Gartz creates an environment with colored windows in which the visitor is immersed in the video installation. In the video she meshes her observations of the gardens of the Hortus with archival material and text fragments. The soundscape of sound artist and sculptor Arnout Killian combines music and sounds of the garden.
Gartz took inspiration from Peter Westbroek’s book The Discovery of the Earth (De Ontdekking van de Aarde). In this book, noted geologist Peter Westbroek gives a view of how the earth evolved and was civilized. To understand these processes, according to Westbroek, we need a synthesis of different sciences and specialisms that give mankind a place in a symbiotic worldview. With her collage-like video Gartz tries to show that everything is connected—nothing exists separately from the rest. To complement the video, Westbroek gave a lecture in Haren showcasing 4.5 billion years of earth science in a nutshell.
About Wineke Gartz
Wineke Gartz (Eindhoven, 1968) lives and works in Amsterdam. She received her education at schools of visual art in Tilburg, St. Joost in Breda, and at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. She is best known for her site-specific installations in which she uses multiple video and slide projections, objects, drawings, music and light. Her work has been shown in the 3A Gallery in New York, Witte de With in Rotterdam and DordtYart in Dordrecht.
About Peter Westbroek
Peter Westbroek (1937) is emeritus professor of geology. He played a role in the development the Earth System Science approach to geology. He belonged to the Dutch Royal Academy of Science and was the first Dutch scientist after Erasmus to be named professor at the Collège de France in Paris. His book The Discovery of the Earth (De Ontdekking van de Aarde) takes the perspective of the earth as an integrated system in the context of an astounding history and expounds on the necessity of planetary self-knowledge.
“Cell Memory, Thank you Plant” is part of the program “Lost and Found” (Verloren en Hervonden) that was commissioned by the Stichting Behoud Groene Hortus and developed with TAAK. Lost and Found was made possible with the support of Kunstraad Groningen, Mondriaan Fonds, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), Vereniging Vrienden van de Hortus Haren, Gemeente Haren, Stichting Behoud Groene Hortus
Art Program Lost and Found
For the program “Lost and Found” (Verloren en Hervonden), five artists create three unique works of art for the Hortus Haren. The artists explore the function of the Hortus in the modern world. The projects focus on the relations between humans, nature and landscape. “The Wrinkling”, by Gabriel Lester, was the first of the projects, with an opening in the Hondsrug garden in July, 2017. In September 2017, the Hortus Hermitage (Sjaak Langenberg and Rosé de Beer, in collaboration with Refunc) was opened in the Groninger garden. Cell Memory, Thank you Plant by Wineke Gartz, in the Chinese Flower Pavilion, completes the Lost and Found program.