Image courtesy Rochester Square
Rochester Square Gardens, London 2021
ABOUT THE PROJECT
In 2019, Tue Greenfort was invited to create an artwork in response to Rochester Square's site and clay production facilities. After an extended production period and a long forced pause due to Covid19 restrictions, Rochester Square is proud to present to the public Weeds - a site-specific work for the square's gardens.
The project was inspired by the process of eradication of Japanese Knotweed from the square, a highly invasive weed that has been dubbed Britains' most destructive plant for the threat its roots pose to buildings' foundations. The plant was introduced in the UK in the middle of the 19th Century, at the height of Britain's naval and imperial power. First appearing as a symbol of colonial domination, the plant's presence on British territory soon got out of hand, invading the country beyond control. With its destructive power, which literally eats up the value of properties, the weed can be seen as a symbol of resistance against imperialism and economic powers.
Fascinated by this narrative, Greenfort researched the various specimens of invasive plants present in the square's garden area. Using these herbal findings, the artist worked in the clay workshop to create five large hexagonal reliefs in glazed ceramic. The connection between floral motifs and ceramic is also a nod to the British tradition of using plants in ornamental patterns, which finds its highest expression in the Arts and Crafts movement. Taking a formal stance against the disempowering shaping of biological diversity as interior decor, Greenfort worked from five large, thick clay slabs, imprinting on them the invasive plants collected from the garden, mixed at times with other objects found on site. Each slab was then cut into tiles following the geometrical pattern of a Voronoi diagram.
The resulting works have been brought back to the garden and installed close to the plants used to create them. Playing with size and the delicate forms of leaves, the work is both a giant herbarium and a tender monument to vegetal species that are usually discarded and eradicated: ultimately a celebration of the resilient powers that weeds symbolically exert on human hegemonic tendencies.
The project was commissioned by South into North in collaboration with Rochester Square and realised with the support of the Danish Arts Foundation.
South into North co-commissioned and curated the project
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