Sculptural installation made out of metal, resin and weeds collected on site.
Grands Travaux Urbains, Zhdk edition, 2019, Zurich University of the Arts
In this Piece, I am repurposing signage tools from construction companies (which warn and stop passers-by), bringing these items that belong to manual labor to the site of a repurposed factory, transformed into a site dedicated to the economy of knowledge and which, as many cultural institutions, capitalizes on the glamour of an industrial past and the brutalist aspect of its building. Zhdk was a factory and has now changed value and audience through its repurposing.
The metal structures hold lying mini landscapes or panoramas (in a sort of flattened perspective) of the weeds that grow in-between the concrete slabs in the outdoor areas within the Zhdk building. I conducted a désherbage/weeding of these areas over the course of one week. Interestingly, the weeds collected from the cracks seem to only grow there. They discreetly follow their own agency, they are the beings creeping in between a designed and controlled environment. They grow next to a packaged nature.
Collected and dried, the weeds are displayed and frozen in resin slats which are themselves inserted within the metal structures, which act both as warning tools and standing frames.
The weeds are being held and displayed in epoxy resin, which is an industrial material, which evoques natural tree resin, which through time and fossilisation, becomes amber. A fossil is frozen time and this temporality also produces value. They are preserved as in a natural history museum, which organises beings and transforms them into specimens, artefacts. They also look like an old ladies herbarium, a practice falling within the genre of creative crafts. But mainly they are a sort of shiny coffin, as to collect and preserve, often we kill or/and archive death.
Plants which were on the ground are now standing up, in dialogue with the building. They stand in one of the garden/atrium area, which is a sort of inside-outside space or non-space within the school, a curated green area, where plants have been selected for their suitability to the site, placed into an artificial soil bed and regularly maintained by gardeners, despite the spontaneous aspect of the plants.
The structure echoes the verticality of the garden and the building around it, mainly made of concrete and glass, two symbolic materials of modernity.