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Dark Heart at Adelaide Botanic Garden

Dark Heart at Adelaide Botanic Garden

Date posted: 25 March 2014

Following the huge success of Skywhale, Adelaide Botanic Garden will again play host to the 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Dark Heart, with an exhibition of ambitious works of art in a range of media by Biennial artist Caroline Rothwell.

Titled Urpflanzestreet plants, the exhibition opens on Friday 11 April in the Santos Museum of Economic Botany and will run until Sunday 14 September, 2014.

In this exhibition Rothwell references Goethe’s theory of the archetypal plant, or Urpflanze, published in 1790 in The Metamorphosis of Plants. Rothwell riffs on Goethe to explore our changing and perilous relationship with the environment.

In her Urpflanze series Rothwell creates hybrid, ‘uberweeds’ by combining weeds from a single urban location to make an ironic ‘superplant’. These botanical style works are then embroidered onto military camouflage.

Rothwell further explores the art of botanical illustration by using exhaust, carefully collected from car exhaust pipes, to make drawings of insects. A series of cut PVC ‘paintings’ will also be on display and by using this material Rothwell asks us to question our commodification of nature, a challenge to the audience made all the more relevant in the context of the Santos Museum of Economic Botany.

2014 Adelaide Biennial Curator, Nick Mitzevich describes Rothwell as an artist with a practice that is ‘singular and experimental, she is constantly pushing her work in terms of both materials and ideas….Rothwell is part mad inventor, part environmentalist and part poet.’

“The themes of Rothwell’s work are especially relevant in the space, the Santos Museum of Economic Botany is an extension of the story, a historical backdrop for the questions raised by the exhibition,” said Stephen Forbes, Director, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide.

Urpflanze street plants runs from Friday 11 April to Sunday 14 September at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Garden. Admission is free. Open 10am to 4pm, daily. Caroline Rothwell also has work on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia as part of the 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Dark Heart. For further information visit,

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