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Lothar Baumgarten: Conservatory (The Glass Houses, RBGE)

5 April - 16 October 1994

Lothar Baumgarten

Lothar Baumgarten: installation view, "Conservatory", Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 1994.  

Lothar Baumgarten's exhibition‘Conservatory' consisted of a collection of over 300 quotations selected from texts published during the last 400 years of Tropical exploration by conquistadors, explorers, botanists, and anthropologists, printed on plant labels and installed in and amongst the plants in four adjacent glasshouses. The quotes served as a record of the impressions of these explorers upon visiting Tropical forests, enhancing our experience of the glasshouses with an appreciation of the sounds, smells and colours of the forest and its relationship to indigenous human culture. The exhibition relflected the differences between Western scientific thought and that of indigenous people which has typically resulted in the destruction of their habitats and culture.

This exhibition formed part of the nationwide ‘Reading Room' project organised by Book Works, London, the texts symbolising the store of knowledge held in our libraries which provides a means of improving our awareness and understanding of the complexities and needs of nature, leading to a realisation that we can and must change our way of life, if we are to co-exist and survive. It was presented in association with Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, in the first simultaneous collaboration between Edinburgh and Glasgow for many years. At Transmission, the texts were read from a continuously scrolling computer monitor, forming part of a site-specific exhibition called ‘Silencium' (shown until 30 April) which gave abstract form to a discourse produced by the regulations and material presence of reading rooms and their role in the acquisition of knowledge. ‘Conservatory' was previously realised by Lothar Baumgarten at Cologne Botanic Garden in 1974.

This exhibition was made possible through a 1993 award from the National Art Collections Fund for ‘An Outstanding Contribution of the Visual Arts', and sponsorship in-kind from The Howard Hotel, Edinurgh, and Gravoply Ltd., London.

Lothar Baumgarten

Lothar Baumgarten: installation view, "Conservatory", Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 1994.  

Lothar Baumgarten

Lothar Baumgarten: installation view, "Conservatory", Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 1994.  

Lothar Baumgarten

Lothar Baumgarten: installation view, "Conservatory", Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 1994.  

All images courtesy of the artist.

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