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(I)    Clonality and individuality

(II)    The preciousness of the cheap         

(III)   Flowers in social context


… sorry, but all important texture revealing the surface qualities is lost in web reproduction.

Flowers, flowers in the visual arts, artificial flowers

The project addresses the appearance and function of artificial flowers, their commonalities and their differences to natural flowers.

Flowers are the epitome of beauty in nature. They please the eyes as well as the nose. Flowers are completely useless. They don’t feed us, they don’t dress us and they can’t be used to build houses. Flowers accompany our life from birth to death. Flowers signify important life-events: birth, christening, birthdays, (first) love, jubilees, successes and defeats, funerals. Flowers flag significant places: houses and flats, churches and hospitals, offices and meeting halls, cemeteries and graves. Flowers are planted, bred, watered, tended, cut, given away, forgotten, deposed of and composted. Flowers grow, blossom, fade. Flowers are part of numerous symbols and allegories. Flowers have been a subject of the visual arts for millennia.

(I)  Natural and artificial flowers – original and copy?
Flowers are often symbols of nature, despite the fact that many, especially exotic ones – e.g. orchids or anthuria – naturally convey an artificial impression. Globalisation, low-wage countries and mechanization made exotic flowers achievable for everyone leading to their omnipresence (especially of orchids). The same mechanisms led to cheap mass production of high-quality artificial flowers which are on first sight undistinguishable from natural ones. In some case one might ask whether the copy is “better” than the original? This is certainly the case concerning some normative criteria for natural flowers.[1] (Why are (nearly?) all artificial flowers copies of natural ones? Why aren’t there any flower designers inventing new, unseen ones?)

(II)  Why artificial flowers:
– because artificial flowers are the (not any more) contemporary form of flowers.
– because artificial flowers resemble mankind’s turn towards the artefact.
– because artificial flowers represent the transition from the natural to the digital world.
– because artificial flowers allow to work on the commonalities of the different and the differences in the similar.
– because artificial flowers have a lightness, not found in the natural ones.
– because artificial flowers are obtrusive (especially orchids).


[1] REGULATION ( EEC ) No 316 / 68 OF THE COUNCIL of 12 March 1968 fixing quality standards for fresh cut flowers and fresh ornamental foliage.

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