Flora Iranica


Farshido Larimian

Farshido Larimian (b.1983) is an Iranian-Austrian artist and curator with a chemical & petroleum engineering background. He has been living and working in Vienna since 2007. Farshido’s works has been exhibited at Joya by Alserkal Dubai in INVICTUS, at WOP artfair, CHE, Farshido graduated as Master of Fine arts with ‘’Distinction’’ from Academy of Fine arts Vienna under

supervision of Univ.Prof. Gunter Damisch & Veronika Dirnhofer, and won the Würdigungspreis of the academy for an outstanding Thesis Pocket Memories Project. And from 2015-2018 he worked as lecturer with Practical Exercises Fine Arts, workshop as part of MORE program, at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, AT.

From 2015-2018 he worked as lecture with ‘’Practical Exercises Fine Arts’’, workshop as part of MORE program, at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, AT. His artworks ranges from collage to painting, from assemblage to installation often with found objects or inspired by them.


The Oaks of The Orient

The book, Die Eichen Europa‘s und des Orient’s (The oaks of Europe and the Orient) was written between 1859 and 1862 and published in 1862 by Eduard Hölzers Verlag (Vienna and Olmütz),This work, published in large Folio format with 40 coloured chromolithographs, is one of the most beautiful illustrated books on oaks.The plates, made using a special “oil-color printing” process were painted by the artist Carl Horegschj from Vienna after drawings from Oberer and J. Seboth, who had Kotschy’s herbarium material as models. Horegschj made a great number of illustrations and prints for many publications and was a famous illustrator of the time in Vienna.
I also worked personally as artist with the plates of this book.
I tried to explore the value of Carl Horegschj’s work Kotschy’s researches, and beauty of them to the Public.

Regina Anzenberger

Born in Vienna and raised in Pressbaum, Lower Austria; painting and photography since age 13. Twelve years painting with oil and red sand from the Australian desert; artist, curator, founder and director of the Anzenberger Agency and Gallery; director of the ViennaPhotoBookFestival 2013-2017. member of the German Society for Photography as Philodendron (exhibition catalogue with painting, drawing, and photography, 2006), Der Hund Shakeera (self-published, 2010), All about Golf (AnzenbergerGallery, 2010), My Golf Diary (AnzenbergerGallery, 2011), Roots & Bonds (AnzenbergerEdition, 2015, Nominated for the German PhotoBook Award), Imperfections (Collector’s Portfolio, 2016), Goosewalk (AnzenbergerEdition, 2019, German Photobook Award 2019 – Silver Medal). Shifting Roots (AnzenbergerEdition, 2020, German Photobook Award 2020 – Bronze Medal). Gstettn (AnzenbergerEdition, 2021). Founding member of fiVe collective. Lives and works in Vienna.


“Give me a wildness whose glance no civilization can endure,” proclaimed Henry David Thoreau, whose life as a hermit at Walden Pond 200 years ago has now become synonymous with the idea of slowing down and getting back to basics.

From 2017 to 2021, Regina Anzenberger photographed what is now one of the last remaining ‘Gstettn’ in Vienna, located just behind the Anker Brotfabrik, once the largest former bread factories in Europe – a piece of urban space that has reclaimed its natural state from ‘civilization’ and has become a place of wilderness and freedom over the past few years. Anzenberger’s photo series is a tribute to an endangered place that some view in a similar way to how they view the ‘weeds’ that have overtaken it. Gstettn are anarchic, wild, non-conformist, and most likely not necessarily loved by everyone. They have been spared from urban and horticultural civilization, remaining unspoiled, indiscriminately taken over by nature. They can be found around demolished buildings, on beat-up asphalt surfaces, in no man’s land, and anywhere lawnmowers and investors have not yet reached. The Gstettn is an untamed oasis for wildlife and insects, as they are becoming increasingly rare in cities, and therefore of the utmost importance ecologically.

In the seven chapters of the series: “Winter Flowers – Natural Planets – The Illusion of Summer – Origin – The Reconquest of Nature/6 Pillars – Snails – Frost,” the artist has captured what is picturesque, impressive, and seemingly insignificant in photographs. Each chapter is told in the context of a different photographic concept. With intentional forming, and distancing from a realistic-naturalistic depiction of nature, the Gstettn cosmos is depicted in photographs layered with painting, drawing, and found objects. Boundaries between object and reality are crossed and the viewer is taken on an adventure.

Note: Shortly after completion of the work, the property was cordoned off, drilling took place, trees were cleared off, and soon the excavators will roll in … and this place of deceleration and ecological diversity will become history.

Hannah Stipple

Hannah Stippl is an artist, curator and landscape theorist. She is best known for her landscape paintings which playfully balance at the intersection of ornament and image.

Born in Vienna, Hannah Stippl studied philosophy, art history and painting at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Here she earned her doctorate in the field of landscape theory in 2011. Her dissertation offers the first comprehensive review of the landscape-theoretical watercolors by Lucius Burckhardt. From 2005-2017, she taught at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in the Department of Landscapedesign/art. Her theoretical preoccupation with cultural-historical and ecological aspects of plants, gardens and landscapes fundamentally influences her artistic work.

Hannah Stippl also curated numerous exhibitions and runs the exhibition space puuul in Vienna. She splits her time between Vienna, her studio in Elsbach, Lower Austria and Aguilas, Spain.


Humans, as naive modern observers, believe themself to be in no way connected to nature, over which, however, they can freely dispose. The contemporary situation shows the extent of this error: The ecological crisis is not only a crisis of nature, it is to the same extent a crisis of culture. Man and nature are connected – only six degrees of separation, or better: Six degrees of connection. This applies to the relationship with a market in Wuhan as well as with some trees in the Amazon or some fishes in the Danube. The flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can trigger a tornado in Texas; a coffee cup carelessly discarded in Texas can fatally strike that butterfly. We live in the midst of an intricate network of countless living things.


Exploring the Anthropocene, Hannah Stippl turns her attention to the global effects of expanding technologies, overgrown slopes, rising water, and the fundamental, unresolvable human affiliation with the Earth. Each project consists of a series of works on paper and canvas with a specific inspiration. Her paintings build up layer upon layer with the help of stencils and historic pattern rollers that Hannah Stippl collected for the last twenty years. The layers entangle and certain atmospheres become perceptible. It is important for her to keep the random, accidental, and inappropriate visible, like spots and graffiti-like fragments, left-overs and stray lines. Words and patterns rely on repetition, like magic spells. In her works, she connects research in fields as mythology, philosophy and sustainability with individuality, emotion and beauty.


Hannah Stippl is radical in the most original sense of the word radicalis, which means rooted, connected to the earth, with plants at eye level. Here, the radical is a form of earthly attachment. She thinks of her paintings as growing and evolving, revealing themselves slowly.

Picture of _O.T_, Wall-painting, 2022 Acrylic, gouache and spray paint on canvas, not stretched, ca 280 x 840 cm

Farshido Larimian

Soil to Soul

Browsing flea markets and generally gathering knick-knacks of the past has always been an amusing hobby, which recently, it seems to have turned into an addiction. I gravitate toward and end up purchasing things that attract and interest me or pick my curiosity, not for collection purposes, but with an intention of using them eventually, somehow. I keep them in a special chest until such time my imagination grants me and them a new birth and a new purpose. I believe in the saying that the best ideas will come on the right time, with the right material and match up in a perfect outcome.

An artist, through his creative process, matches and brings together seemingly unrelated things and when he is done, the final product is a harmonious piece that seems as if the materials always belonged to each other and had never been apart.

In my endless rummaging of my beloved flea markets, I came across a few very simple sketches, stone prints and water color paintings dating back to 1909 till 1927.

I was reminded of Persian Artist, Sohrab Sepehri, poet of 20th century, who had once written in spring of 1945, that no piece of art can be that complete/perfect that it can not be improved upon.

So with some hesitation, taking extreme care, realising what the original artist had accomplished, I went to work. I tried not to directly affect the paintings themselves and with the least amount of modifications, even by adding a small piece of paper; give birth to a new artistic work which may create even more meaning and deliver the message more loudly. For this, I opted for collage and installation. Through this methods, I was able to keep the intrusion on the original works of art to a minimum.

The title “as if they always belonged to each other “ describes my relation with first artists. The delicate procedure of our works implies that we have belonged to each other in our aesthetics.

These new pieces will have also my name under their name, and this new piece is a mélange of me and pieces of history that I keep in my special chest of memories…


Marianne Lang

The drawings of Marianne Lang are representations of native fauna and flora. She shows the subtle beauty of species, which usually do not attract a lot of attention: eroded leaves, lichen species, the wood grain of felled tree trunks, overgrowth or moths. Lang is experimenting with exceptional techniques as burned engravings on paper, paper scratchings, paper with wooden tarsia or silverpoint on canvas. The used technique and the motif match impressively and the delicate details of the drawings show the highly accurate processes. Through the combination of rare motifs and secretive techniques the drawings appear realistic and abstract at the same time.
The precisely drawn variety of forms and species evokes melancholy: As contemporary vanitas motifs the artworks symbolize the transience of earthly life. They remind us of a more sustainable handling of nature, a new way of living together and respecting also the inconspicuous or unpleasant sides of nature and environment. (Margareth Otti)

Haus im Grünen

Pencil/ink drawings of the work serie Haus im Grünen (house in greens) show in different motifs ivy tendrills growing at facades of contemporary architecture like a family house, or skyscraper. The architectural elements disappaer behind the overgrown green wall and the viewer itself has to construct the outlines of the building which evocates a narrative component.

Christina Gruber

Christina Gruber is a Vienna-based visual artist, freshwater ecologist and sturgeon caretaker in Vienna. She studied site-specific art at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Applied Limnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. Her work focuses on landscapes in transition, with a focus on water. Christina is a scientific researcher and lecturer. As part of the LIFE Sterlet project she works on strengthening wild populations of sturgeon in the Danube River. Recent exhibitions, lectures and art projects include Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) Berlin, Ars Electronica Festival Linz, ZKM Karlsruhe, PARALLEL Vienna. She was awarded several residencies of the BioartSociety, Finland; LandXcape, Puglia; Deltaworkers New Orleans; Djerassi, California.

Digital Water

Multimedia installation

Digital Water deals with the analog parts in the digital world. For the digital Cloud, a network of servers, water is needed to guarantee fast streaming times cooling the data center’s servers. The installation is divided into several parts.

The manifestations of the Internet are found and collected in the third volume of the International Cloud Atlas by Christina Gruber (2016, 2nd edition 2021). The video Digital Water characterizes the first collected digital Cloud in the Atlas. It deals with Google-owned piece of land in Kronstorf, Austria. Takes from various perspectives from the surface and drone sequences from above, observe the status of the cloud to be. The steady shots combined with the sound, especially composed for the Kronstorf cloud, convey a feeling of waiting and anticipation. In contrast to the usual speed of Internet videos, each take is 30 seconds long, alternating with shorter takes of 15 seconds. The story of the place and the people become inevitably connected to the Internet and the floating in space.


1. Google Forest, 3-sided screen with printed silk canvas 

This tree seedling was extracted from an afforestation site planted as emissions offset by Google, in a town of Kronstorf in Upper Austria. The afforestation project was required as compensation for Google’s purchase of farmland designated as the future site of a data center in 2008. Christina Gruber’s International Cloud Atlas, Vol. III investigates Kronstorf as one of the sites of the digital ‘cloud’.

A tree can absorb as much as 48 lb (22 kg) of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 0.5 ton (455 kg) of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old. 1 ton of CO2 is the amount of emissions offset per tree planted. Some of the assumptions in this calculation are that the tree won’t be cut down before it reaches 40, and that it would not have grown there otherwise.

Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) is a so-called pioneer species, it is native to central and eastern Europe and western Asia. The sycamore has been introduced to suitable locations outside Europe as an attractive tree for parks, streets or gardens, including the United States, Canada and Australia. At the time of introduction, people were not aware that its prolific production of seeds might cause problems to the landscape one day as it spread and out-competed native species. In Europe the tree is often used for mitigation measures as soil improvement and therefore adds to the ecological benefits.

Text by Karolina Sobecka


2. International Cloud Atlas Vol.III, artist book

The project “Digital Water” deals with the fact that both the digital and the analog world are based on water. Since 1896 the World Meteorological Association publishes the International Cloud Atlas featuring different forms of clouds that can be described and observed. Now a third volume is published to describe the digital cloud and its manifestations, in the shape of data centers, spreading around the world.

The first described digital cloud is situated Austria, in the village of Kronstorf. Here, the data center has not been built but Google purchased 78 hectares of agricultural land in 2008 for a future “cloud factory”. Since the purchase of the land the only action taken was the plantation of 13000 trees to mitigate the carbon offset of the future data center.



3.International Cloud Atlas Vol.III Edition 2

Volume III of the International Cloud Atlas (2021, 2nd edition) deals with the analog parts in the digital world, in this case water. A digital “cloud” (a network of servers) needs water to cool down its processors to be able to stream data at the highest speeds. Digital Water engages in the relationship the user has with streams of data and the connection to water streams in the “real” world. The virtual world is connected to the most abundant element in the world: water and gains actual weight.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation (International Cloud Atlas, 1975) clouds are so called hydrometeors. A meteor is a phenomenon observed in the atmosphere or on the surface of the earth, which consists of a suspension, a precipitation, or a phenomenon of the nature of an optical or electrical manifestation. Clouds consist of minute particles of liquid water or ice, or of both, suspended in the atmosphere and usually not touching the ground. However, a specific cloud does not permanently consist of the exact same particles. Technically speaking, a cloud is not even an object, but an area in the atmosphere reaching over saturation.


4. Suns of the Cloud

What do sunfish in the Danube have to do with water-cooled data centers? Suns of the Cloud highlights the concrete effects of digital networks and their infrastructures on our environments. Socio-political and ecological changes are often carried out on the backs of “non-native” species such as sunfish. But when does a species become native? 150 years seems not to be enough in this case.

Karin Maria Pfeifer

Christina Gruber is a Vienna-based visual artist, freshwater ecologist and sturgeon caretaker in Vienna. She studied site-specific art at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Applied Limnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. Her work focuses on landscapes in transition, with a focus on water. Christina is a scientific researcher and lecturer. As part of the LIFE Sterlet project she works on strengthening wild populations of sturgeon in the Danube River. Recent exhibitions, lectures and art projects include Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) Berlin, Ars Electronica Festival Linz, ZKM Karlsruhe, PARALLEL Vienna. She was awarded several residencies of the BioartSociety, Finland; LandXcape, Puglia; Deltaworkers New Orleans; Djerassi, California.


The circular arrangement of the elements of the installation translates the stringent world plan behind a casual natural phenomenon into geometric lines and angles of vision.

In this work, Karin Maria Pfeifer focuses on the fleetingness and transience of situations situations, small, casually perceived movements and encounters that nevertheless contain the nucleus the nucleus of great changes within them. changes within them. As in the case of the hundreds of filigree lime seeds filigree linden seeds, which is an expansive on a seemingly free-floating plate in an installation suspended on thin nylon threads, push into the viewer’s plane of vision and they are the natural cycle of decay and new emergence. The fleeting flight of seeds signalizes autumn, but nevertheless carries the germ of spring within it. How stringent this behind an incidental natural phenomenon is demonstrated by the circular arrangement of the individual elements of the installation in geometric lines and angles.

Paper Hits Stone


In the installation ꞌpaper hits stoneꞌ, water drips from the tap directly into the depression actually, created by water erosion in a stone that originally comes from a small stream. It must have been there for hundreds of years, unmoved, totally calm and yet in the middle of the movement of the dripping trickle. The artist is concerned with the time space between the individual falling drops, the moment when the surface tension no longer withstands the

weight of the water. And the question of whether one perceives the moment of the fall or is distracted or misses it
by the blink of an eye. The natural condition of the stone stands in hard contrast to the sobriety of the metal water
installation-pipes, screwed directly to the wall and, breaking the conventional building principle,
partly also projecting into the middle of the room. The closed circuit of water cycles, both in nature and in artificially create dipping systems of civilization, is ruptured in this installation: the supply in the water dispensing
funnel can run out at the beginning of the pipe. Water can brim over in the stone trough.
Viewer can optionally exert influence, close the tap or open it completely. The water cycle, which is not a cycle, connects
to the corresponding graphic photo-collage on rural plants. Pfeifer, in turn, takes up the technical principle of image composition in times of scan, JPGs and screens. Just as screens achieve the display of any object through an arrangement of individual color dots (pixels) replicated millions of times, the artist adapts
the principle to a manual drawing principle. And so the endangered and dried out carnation, mullein or dill are put point by point on paper. Nevertheless: nothing is floral here, even if a detail photo, a night photograph of the plant, is mounted into the representation and the drawn.

Yvonne Oswald

Yvonne Oswald was born in Salzburg/Austria and grew up in Attersee, Upper Austria. She studied photography and graphic arts at the Academie des Beaux Arts/Paris, the Academy of Applied Arts/Vienna (Mag. Art.), Parsons School of Design/New York and the School for Art Photography/Vienna. She worked several years as a graphic designer and in fashion design. Since 2002 she is as a freelance photographer. The artist lives and works in Vienna.



The series ‘Close-Up’ is a study on the blooming and withering of different blossoms found in Yvonne Oswald’s own garden and other secret places.
The camera sweeps and caresses these objects, the close-range shots, the intended blurriness, try to bring forward the plants and blossoms’ delicate composition, subtle or flamboyant colouring, their extreme physicality and fragility. Fragments of ephemeral reality are transformed into abstracts to appear in a painterly quality. Defined curves, expressive colour combinations, surprising insights, luxurious arrangements and expressive arrangements lead into the sensual, secret world of blossoms and blooms. Flamboyant and subtle drama queens in their realm.

Contact sheet of Close-Up Installation- Yvonne Oswald

Michaela Putz

Michaela Putz studied at the University of Applied Art (Master of Art&Science) and Communication and Political Science at the University of Vienna. In her multimedia work she visually investigates our current society’s interaction with digital media, the flood of data/images and our obsession with the screen and its manifold gestures. Exploring the impact of the virtual world on our personal and collective memories, intimate relationships and social issues, she expands the use of photographic images into various layers in front of and behind the screen, implementing tools of digital post-processing and actual traces of touch, while also transforming those images into three-dimensional installations and objects.

She took part in various group and solo exhibitions within Austria and abroad, including institutional shows and gallery presentations. Among those: Salzamt Linz (in cooperation mit Ars Electronica und Bildrecht), Künstlerhaus Wien, Biquini Wax EPS (Mexico City), Vent Gallery (Parallel Vienna), Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo (Montevidéo, Uruguay), TAF The Art Foundation (Athens Photo Festival), TIM NOLAS Wien, Unseen Amsterdam (mit 280A), Beton 7 (Athen), Landesgalerie Burgenland, VBKÖ Vienna, Kunstraum Nestroyhof (FOTO WIEN) and more.

She received several grants and awards, among them the Annual Award for Fine Art of Burgenland in 2018, the START-grant for photography of the Austrian Chancellery in 2019 as well as working grants of Burgenland and the city of Vienna in 2020. Her works have been published and broadcasted in several formats and magazines and she has given public lectures on her works about contemporary photography and digitalization.

Extinction Ballads

Orgiastic images for dying species. A visual ballad about what will have been.

We live in abundant times. There is more than enough it seems, a steady growth of population, and production. We live in baroque opulence while glaciers are melting, insects are dying, and countless species are about to go extinct. Our attempts to save them fail while we still try to entertain ourselves. Scrolling, swiping, tapping our phones to watch what is left. This is where they will end. As images and data. Images of a nature that became a well documented stranger. Soon to be memorized online, consumed on our screens.

Found footage, archive and (possible future) memories have been topics Michaela Putz has been dealing with in her work over the last few years. The digital works of the series „Extinction Ballads“ (2021) are dealing with what will be left of former diversity of species, when only data and photos remain. The works include found-footage footage of recently extinct or endangered plants. The artist collects these plants with the help of official data of global red lists of extinct species and the ones on the verge of extinction – due to human interference, climate change and thus the inevitable change of their natural habitats which causes them to vanish into memories.

„Michaela Putz translates the evidence of former diversity into a transfiguring baroque aesthetic, interrupted only by the smudgy traces of the often inconsequential scrolling we find on our tablets and smartphones. In the work, the artist refers to a conspicuously invasive-destructive element of human action as well as to the increasingly evident futility of fleeting ‘gestures’.” (translated from a text by Esther Mlenek)

Referring to the influence on endangered species, the works of this series are blurred and partially manipulated beyond recognition. Traces of scrolling on smartphones point to triviality and visualize the fleetingness of images on the screen and in our consciousness – the suppression of the imminent mass extinction of flora and fauna.

Christopher Wittine

Born on July 3rd, 1981 in Graz, graduated from the Vienna Advertising Academy
(advertising) in 2007, before studying theater, film and media studies at the
University of Vienna from 2009-2012. He was a co-founder of Resident Magazine and was responsible for production, advertising and contributions as well as for organizing events there until 2010.
In 2012 and 2013 he was artistic assistant in the gallery next St. Stephan.
2013 – 2015 work as a social worker and addiction counselor in Vienna.
Since 2019 resumption of photographic work projects and work as a landscape gardener 

2015 Foundation of the association for the promotion of radical art denial:
Beton Brulee
2012 12 hours “Silent Meditation” Reheat Festival, Kleylehof, Burgenland
2014 Art in public space with Anna Ceeh and Iv Torshan “Feminin Art Project”
2016 Art in public space Actions with Aurelie Mazar’s “the coat”, “open
bookcase”, photo and film recordings for various band projects such as Lena
WickeAengenheyster (monster woman), Katharina Ernst, Ventil

Jardin du Souvenir

My work moves at the interface between art and social issues. I am interested in the social fringe groups in society, the social hotspots. The people who are not integrated and usually do not participate in social life and have no influence on socio-political processes.

people who have been marginalized to the periphery. In the places where other people don’t go.
In general, I have a strong interest in people, in the relationship between them, their identity and their behavior.
My further artistic focus lies in nature. Landscapes that change naturally or through human intervention. Changes caused by climate change, changes as a natural process. New habitats created by storms, avalanches, snow jams, floods, etc. I would like to expand my knowledge and record how much the changes affect the ecosystem and in what way. How important wilderness is for us humans.
I walk through the landscapes, the wilderness, document them with photographs, make written notes and combine the text with the photograph. In addition to the photographic work, I also work with field recordings to create soundscapes. Not only do the landscapes change visibly, the sound also changes.
Botany with its plant morphology, plant physiology and plant systematics has also become a strong focus of my artistic interest in the last two years. Here I increasingly use analogue photography as a tool to document the plants and their properties and to consciously change them through photographic processes.

David Eisl

David Eisl was born in Schwarzach in 1985. From 2005 to 2010 he studied with Prof. Gunter Damisch at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in the class for graphics and printmaking techniques
David Eisl lives and works in Vienna. His works have been shown in international exhibitions and are part of numerous private and public collections such as the Kupferstichkabinett Wien, the Artothek of the Federal Republic of Austria, the Wien Museum, the Salzburg Museum, etc.
He was invited as artist in residence to Chicago, Beijing, Budapest and the Cité des Arts Internationale in Paris, among others, and received several scholarships and prizes, such as the “Pfann-Ohmann-Preis” or the Sculpture Prize of the Province of Salzburg.


David Eisls often works like an upside-down archaeologist, burying and hiding in his paintings, collages and objects what he wants to find or show. The confusion and mixing of supposed pairs of opposites such as culture and nature, the physical and the immaterial, or the original and the copy runs like a thread along his works. His both irritating and poetic pictorial and experiential spaces raise more questions than they answer, but perhaps also open up insight – precisely through deception.

Marianne Lang

Bang Bang Image Damage

Fallen shooting stars frozen in the moment of an imaginary impact causing a scene of destruction on the glass pane of a museum showcase. Bang Bang Image Damage – using mixed techniques with chalk, graphite, ink and engraving – makes up an apparently faulty art piece questioning its own value.

Karin Pliem

A world society in pictures
My artistic interpretation of a world society comprises creatures from a variety of species and origins who interact with artefacts from equally worldwide explored cultures and civilizations. Some of what is painted here has never been sighted in reality. In its detail, it is often conflicting, but on the painting as a whole the symbiotic coexistence of all these actors eventually arises. And their visual common denominator is the language of art, and their ideal common denominator the language of nature. But as homo sapiens have unlearned the latter, they do not directly belong to my world society—they are represented by individual manifestations of a cultural or technological ‘nature’.
«Karin Pliem composes an ambiguous post-baroque botanical theatrum mundi, uniting plants of the tropics and of alpine mountain landscapes, native flora and vegetation of distant places in her paintings as conjoining these in a floral cabinet of curiosities. At these globe-spanning sites, she examines the “potential alliances between nature and civilization,” whose success is made tangible as a possibility, even if this out­come, as the artist envisages as well in her works, is ultimately not guaranteed. She addresses the nature/culture dichotomy from an intra-botanical perspective as well, for instance when she visualises how the profit-oriented single-crop cultivation of agricultural plants suppresses and extinguishes biodiversity. Or when she investigates the ambivalence of poisonous plants, which can have both healing and toxic effects, this as well being a question of balance, of the appropriate potentiation.
However, despite the inherent warning of the endangerment of the interrelationships on whose equilibrium the survival of the macro- and microcosms governing our systems of human and environmental life depends, the artist’s gracefully abysmal scenarios above all celebrate the rich abundance of existence in its diversity and resistance to the nature- and ultimately also culture-hostile excesses of consumerism and capitalism. In this sense, Karin Pliem’s enigmas of existence, in which we implicitly rediscover ourselves as human beings and encounter ourselves anew in our interactions with our (environmental) world, are both highly political and critical, and filled with great hope. In their vital beauty, the artist’s paintings convey that natural orders may always be restored and that the conflicting forces may finally be reunited again ‹forming a bond in the comprehensive whole, in the picture and through the picture›». (Belinda Grace Gardner, 2019)
The rock paintings and carvings of Tassili n’Ajjer in the Algerian Sahara are wonderful examples of the earliest artistic representations of the coexistence of man and nature. In Petroglifi di Tassili con fave di cacao I bring parts of these Neolithic pictorial worlds into my painting and let them correspond with plants from all over the world: sundew and cornflower grow wild in the Alps, sunflower and maize are agricultural crop, and the tulip is native to Iran, among other places. Among many other plants, there also are cocoa beans, a ginger tuber, corn on the cob and amaranth blossoms in this picture.

l’infinito della natura

video animation

The film starts with a sketch as a background for one of my paintings, the colonnade of Monreale in Sicily – an architectural work that is characterised by an amalgamation of a variety of cultural influences. In this frame plants that were ‘cut out’ from about 20 painted pictures are displayed. They move across and through the frame and try to find their place. Then a sculpture emerges from the background, a reclining giantess, who marks the gate to the underworld, according to the concept of the mannerist Garden of Bomarzo, in Umbria, Italy, and represents the importance of rest, of creative breaks in-between rational and bustling activities at the same time. Here the sleep of reason does not, as later in Goya’s works, produce monsters of stupidity and violence, but instead, sleep gives birth to new ideas, puts our outer sense of time back into perspective, and creates a potential for knowledge. This is one of the reasons why surrealist artists like Salvador Dali rediscovered this sculpture garden after it had fallen into a deep slumber of 400 years. Subsequently, this figure withdraws, to give way to other tones—those of a mechanical and technical thought, the building of frontiers and the fear of the ‘strange’, the narrowing of our awareness and knowledge. After a cut of music and images there is darkness, where from vegetation cumulative again arises …
The title ‘l’infinito della natura’ refers back to a work of Friedrich Engels, the ‘Dialectics of Nature’, which states: ‘we by no means rule over nature […] we belong to nature, and exist in its midst. […] Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature …’.

Karin Maria Pfeifer