Flora Iranica

“From the foothills of the Alborz
to the peaks of the Alps”

 

Curated by Farshido


Participating artists:
David Eisl, Hannah Stippl, Regina Anzenberger, Karin Maria Pfeifer, Marianne Lang, Michaela Putz, Karin Pliem, Christina Gruber, Yvonne Oswald, and Christopher Wittine

 

Project Manager: Nima Shokraei

In cooperation with Austrian Cultural Forum (ÖKF) Tehran,
Natural History Museum Vienna (NHM), and Aichberg Castle Austria
Scientific collaborators: Dr. Ernst Vitek and Dr. Jalil Noroozi

An exhibition at the Yassi Foundation Tehran (Iran) juxtaposes contemporary artistic positions from Austria with an important botanical collection at the Natural History Museum Vienna (NHM). The focus of the FLORA IRANICA exhibition is the historical collection of herbaria that the Austrian botanist Theodor Kotschy collected in Persia and Afghanistan in the 19th century. Curator Farshido Larimian expands this look into the past with artistic works by David Eisl, Hannah Stippl, Regina Anzenberger, Karin Maria Pfeifer, Marianne Lang, Michaela Putz, Karin Karin Pliem, Christina Gruber, Yvonne Oswald, and Christopher Wittine. They all move in the subject areas of nature, plants, ecology and sustainability. In addition to works of photography, painting, installation and video, there is a selection of artist books. Discussion panels will complete the program. After the end of the exhibition in Tehran, it will be shown finally in Vienna.

With the Flora Iranica, the Natural History Museum Vienna (NHM) houses the most important international botanical collection of Iranian plants from the Flora Iranica area (Persia and Afghanistan). Almost 180 years ago, the Austrian botanist Theodor Kotschy climbed Mount Damavand, near Tehran. He brought back a rich collection of plants from his research trips to the Iranian highlands. He sent more than 10,000 botanical preparations to Vienna and thus created the basis for the most important collection of Iranian plants in the NHM Vienna, which today comprises 60,000 objects.

The exhibition FLORIA IRANICA (from the foothills of the Alborz to the peaks of the Alps) is inspired by this history of collecting and archiving, but also of international transfer. Curated by the Iranian-Austrian artist, archivist and curator Farshido Larimian, these historical documents are the focus of the exhibition. In addition to pictures from the NHM’s herbarium collection, most of which were collected by Theodor Kotschy, there are parts of the herbarium collection at Aichberg Castle in Austria, including 14 original panels from 1837. The curator’s private collection also has 30 watercolors of botanical content from the 19th century. Running for three weeks, the FLORA IRANICA exhibition aims to move visitors to the atmosphere of the time when Theodor Kotschy and Karl H. Rechinger discovered and collected plants in nature.

”We would be happy if the scientifically and culturally important herbarium material that we “hoarded” in Iran would also be visible to non-specialists,” says the head of the Botanical Department, Dr. Christian Bräuchler, about the cooperation of the NHM Vienna with this project.

With the support and cooperation of the Austrian Embassy and the Cultural Forum (ÖKF) Tehran, curator Farshido supplements this look into the past with contemporary positions. Yassi Foundation, Tehran presents works by the artists David Eisl, Hannah Stippl, Regina Anzenberger, Karin Maria Pfeifer, Marianne Lang, Michaela Putz, Karin Pliem, Christina Gruber, Yvonne Oswald, and Christopher Wittine. They all share a great interest in nature and plants, sustainability and ecology in their artistic practice. The exhibition includes a carefully curated selection of photographs, paintings, installations, video works, artist books and research based on numerous studio visits. The rich program is complemented by videos from the studios, performances and three workshops by artists present at the exhibition.
In addition to and with works of contemporary art, selected artefacts from older European cultural history are shown in this exhibition, which document both the scientific examination of nature and the tradition of depicting natural motifs in the design of everyday objects. The 14 specimens from the late 19th century shown in this exhibition were used as teaching aids in natural history lessons at a school that was once housed in
Aichberg Castle.

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