Saturday, June 15, 2013

Funky art-plant-human hybrids in Vienna make us look again at plant breeding

I was in Vienna last week to do a lecture as part of an exhibition on plant breeding as an art form. One of those events which displays the city's imaginative thinking and creativity at its best. Check out their website: - most of the entries on the website are bilingual German/English. It is interesting, beautiful and well-worth looking at in some detail.

Its not often that plant breeding is defined as an art. Here it is explored as such through both the exhibition, at the Vienna Botanic Garden and on the website and through some imaginative, almost whacky artworks. A painting by two artists and landscape designers - Anita Duller and Hannah Stippl merges with a planting in a downtown gallery which includes both real and plastic flowers both inside the gallery and immediately outside in a window box. Hannah (also the exhibition curator) and Anita have run workshops in London at last year's Chelsea Fringe where they get people to paint and then create plantings based on the paintings.

Their website is:

The opening event at the Botanic Gardens featured edible flower jelly (very Vienna) while the gallery includes a small petunia plant which contains a gene from an artist. In a country where attitudes to GM food are amongst the most hostile (and quite honestly most irrational) I would have expected the place to be bombarded with protesting biodynamic eco-warriors. But not a bit of it - no-one has objected - progress indeed!


Rosie Nixon, Perthshire Gardener and Photographer said...

Very interesting Noel - especially your first link as I enjoyed reading many of the articles. I'm a creative floral fine art photographer as well as a gardener so I can so relate to finding the aesthetic qualities of a flower and can spend over an hour studying a group of flowers before I even click the shutter. Good to see that even some breeders will take this into account ... though my favourite plants to photograph are the wild ones or singles rather than the new f1 hybrid double types.

As for you eco warriors maybe they've been making their way to Enniskillen to protest at the G8 summit.

Edith Illyés said...

I wish I knew about the lecture, I would have stepped over from Budapest.

detlev brinkschulte said...

it´s ignorance. most people don´t care about gm food and/or art in austria and germany... food has to be cheap and art has to be old. i don´t think it´s "progress": it´s just stupid "art".

Julie Weiss, New York said...

A small petunia that contains a gene from the artist. Can't wait to find out about that. Very weird and cool, which is what Vienna is all about. It is such an interesting place, very "out there" and progressive also an extremely classical city-all at the same time. I'm not surprised this is coming out of Vienna. Did you see any interesting gardens while you were there? Hope you ate some good food!