RA Edition Parliament of Plants

How different would our world be if the vegetable world had taken power in the past and had been given a voice? Would they be better at tackling issues of race, gender, normativity, inclusivity, ecology and climate change than we are?  Those are the questions the Parliament of Plants is aiming to raise.

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Artwork details

Dimensions 70.7 x 50 cm
Edition 25
Medium Print

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Artwork description

The Plant Kingdom is in fact a Plant Republic and the “Parliament of Plants” gives to Nature its own representative body. The parliament (from the French parler, to talk) gives a voice to the botanical world through an intersectional lens. By opening a post-Anthropocene space for reflection, it challenges the belief that matter and intelligence should be dissociated, regarding flora as more than a mere commodity. It explores the power of trees, shrubs, flowers, and herbs as a source of inspiration, providing alternatives to the way we design and act in our current era of political uncertainty and climate change.

The original painting of Karl Anton Hickel (1793-94) shows an assembly of exclusively white male parliamentarians. It was painted at a time when imperial powers sponsored colonial expeditions that supported scientific exploration, imperial conquests, and global trade. Palms, bamboos, arums, rubber trees, and cactuses ranked prominently among the motivations for voyages of discovery, together with costly spices, medicinal herbs, and cash crops. 

Céline Baumann is a French landscape architect based in Basel. Her eponymous studio operates in the fields of urbanism, landscape architecture, and exhibition. She aims through an intersectional lens to create dynamic open spaces, informed by the interactive ecology between people and nature. This design work is complemented by a commitment to writing and research, allowing her to explore the collective value of nature and its impact on individuals.

Baumann is currently Future Architecture alumna, Akademie Solitude fellow, and recipient of the youth awards of the International Federation of Landscape Architects. Her work has been presented in institutions including the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Museum of Architecture and Design of Ljubljana and the Swedish University of Agricultural Science in Alnarp.

Parliament of Plants, 2019

Céline Baumann

Edition of 25

Dimensions: 70.7 x 50 cm