Inverleith House

Current Exhibition:

Plant Scenery of the World
29 July - 29 October

Laura Aldridge | Charlie Billingham | Bobby Niven | Oliver Osborne | Ben Rivers
With botanical paintings by Işık Güner, Jacqui Pestell and Sharon Tingey and artworks by R. K. Greville from the collection of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Inverleith House and the Front Range Glasshouses (Lower Temperate Lands)
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Installation view, Charlie Billingham, Untitled (Wall Print), 2017; Goody Grabber, 2017; Untitled (Plant Pots), 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez.
Plans for Hothouses. Collection of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Charlie Billingham, Delft Dancer, 2016; Untitled (Plant Pots), 2017; Untitled (Wall Print), 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez.

Laura Aldridge, SIGNALS AND GET WET, 2016-17; DISPLAY SCAPE #6 FOR INVERLEITH: DROP.CLOTH (REMOVE SHOES AND COLLAPSE YOUR METONYMIC IMPULSE, REPLACE IT WITH A REFRESHED SENSE OF HOW WE RELATE TO THE THINGS AROUND US) , 2017. Courtesy of the artist, and Koppe Astner, Glasgow. New Planthouses, No.1–5,  c.1965. Collection of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Laura Aldridge, SIGNALS AND GET WET, 2016-17; DISPLAY SCAPE #6 FOR INVERLEITH: DROP.CLOTH (REMOVE SHOES AND COLLAPSE YOUR METONYMIC IMPULSE, REPLACE IT WITH A REFRESHED SENSE OF HOW WE RELATE TO THE THINGS AROUND US), 2017. Courtesy of the artist, and Koppe Astner, Glasgow.

Bobby Niven, The Collectors, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Oliver Osborne, Untitled (Upholstered Room), 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Gió Marconi, Milan; Rubber Plant (Empty Fridge), 2012.
Private collection; Rubber Plant (Apples), 2014-17. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

Oliver Osborne, Untitled (Upholstered Room), 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Gió Marconi, Milan; Rubber Plant (Empty Fridge), 2012. Private collection.

Ben Rivers, Urth, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Kate MacGarry, London

Plant Scenery of the World, Lower Temperate Glasshouse, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh .
Laura Aldridge, Samples and Straps, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Koppe Astner, Glasgow.

Installation view, Plant Scenery of the World, Lower Temperate Glasshouse, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh .
Laura Aldridge, Samples and Straps, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Koppe Astner, Glasgow.

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Plant Scenery of the World brings together new and commissioned works by contemporary artists with archival material and botanical illustration from the collection of the Royal Botanic Garden, on view
here for the first time.

This exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the Garden’s most iconic structures, the Front Range Glasshouses. Designed by architects George Pearce and Allan Pendreigh and opened on the 25th October 1967, the Front Range was a pioneering example of Scottish Modernist architecture; its vast glass and steel structure built to house the Garden’s expanding collection of exotic plants from tropical regions around the world.

Plant Scenery focuses on the Garden’s history of building for plants, reflecting on the evolution of glasshouse design from the 18th century to the present day. As such, the gallery space takes inspiration from the varied climatic zones of the Front Range, offering an interconnected series of ‘micro-climates’ in each room of Inverleith House, evoking the theatrical, awe-inspiring, utopian and naturalistic display of plants under glass through the work of living artists.

Considering the glasshouse as a meeting point between culture and nature, the exhibition explores our enduring fascination with tropical plants, and changing attitudes towards exploration, collection, study and display. Central to this is a suite of paintings by the artist-botanist R.K. Greville (1794-1866) from which the exhibition takes its name. Produced by the artist to introduce Victorian audiences to tropical geographies, today these paintings appear as anachronistic and apocryphal visions of the exotic seen through Western eyes; perspectives that have come to shape enduring (mis)understandings of other places.

Greville’s paintings are a valuable document for understanding how others receive the world and as such centralise questions of perception, validity, ideology and acts of looking still relevant to artists and botanists today. Presented here, Oliver Osborne and Laura Aldridge investigate plants through the lens of human culture, demonstrating the ways we use plants as symbols, impressing them with our own values. Charlie Billingham evokes the fervour for exoticism that gripped Britain in the 18th and 19th century, Bobby Niven contemplates the activity of the collector and the function of the archive, and Ben Rivers’ Urth considers false habitats, inhospitable environments and dystopian futures.

The exhibition is open Tues - Fri, 11am - 5.30pm, Sat - Sun, 10am - 5pm (closed Mondays).

This exhibition has received funding from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and is part of the 2017 Edinburgh Art Festival.

Image credit: Oliver Osborne, Rubber Plant (detail), 2014 Oil on linen, 28 x 38 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Plant Scenery of the World Events Programme can be found here.

Information about the Working Group can be found here.

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)