Is it possible to be a revolutionary and like flowers?
© Camille Henrot
Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris
This project is a translation of an entire library into ikebana. According to Japanese tradition, ikebana was originally created to “console the soul”. The form of a piece of ikebana, its colours and the choice of flowers used constitutes a form of language. The function of consoling and language – two aspects shared by books and flowers – are the starting point. So each piece of ikebana represents the works chosen by the artist following a principle of translation the rules of which have been reinvented, using the evocative power of the Latin and common names of the flowers, the names designed for their commercial exploitation, their pharmacological power or even the history of their travels.Hence the ikebana piece that pays homage to the Discours sur le colonialisme (Essay on Colonialism) is made up of a palm tree branch (Alma armata) and an upturned tulip (Tulip retroflexa), while the one paying homage to the Caractère fétiche de la marchandise is made up of a rose named “freedom” and three carnations.
The thoughts produced by literature, philosophy or anthropology (which make up a large part of the library chosen) are an integral part of our daily lives. But, in some ways, they are also “decorative objects”, in this context meaning that they create a frame, a stimulating and comforting environment, a “leap out of murderers’ row, act-observation.”, just as a library can be.
From books to flowers, the project highlights our prejudices about what is offensive or inoffensive, about what belongs to the arts of the intellect and to those of the everyday.
Photo. Fabrice Seixas