Gabi Schaffner / Visionary Documentarism



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Australian Beauties
Australian Beauties
Australian Beauties

Australian Beauties refers to the work of German botanists travelling Australia since the 50s of the 19th century. Namely the work of Ferdinand von Mueller was vital for the botanic culture of Australia: Not only did he discover a great number of plants and became the renowned director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens in 1857. Even before that he started on the most extensive collection of pressed plants in Australia for a herbarium that still forms the core of the present “plant library” of the Botanic Gardens.

b>Australian Beauties is a “roadside herbarium” currently featuring 23 pressed plants from Australia, provided with reinvented names, but real situational descriptions and observations on the nature of the specific plant. The work draws on the spirit of discovery which forms such a great part of Western culture – and defies it at the same time in counteracting the “laws” of taxonomy, scientific soberness and order. The grit of the road still sticks to the pressed specimens. Australian Beauties hovers on the brink between the factual and the imaginary and between irony and wonder.

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