As a visual artist, Anne Geene (NL, 1983) captures the hidden beauty of the natural world. With the help of photography, she investigates, collects and organises the world around her.
'Eeuwig Herbarium' is a combination of preserved plant material and its photographic reproduction. In this way, an eternal comparison is created between the original colour (captured at the time of picking) and the fading organic equivalent.
The artistic method of Geene’s work lies on the border between scientific and poetic investigation, addressing the idea of objectivity. By photographing compositions assembled from the real plants, Geene is looking for visual similarities, patterns and phenomena in the biosphere. Eventually, her findings are analysed and cataloged according to a distinct logic — Anne Geene’s interpretation of the data is strictly personal and refers to human urge to regulate and understand the world around us.
The series Museum of the Plant is a fictional, slightly absurd, or even ironic "museum" that focuses on all aspects of the plants that other museums do not discuss. A work-in progress that Anna Geene has been working on for a couple of years, including the sub-series that are also a part of the “museum”: Eeuwig Herbarium, Substitutions, Mutatis Mutandis, Peloria, Colour Analysis and After Mendel.
To make these works, the artist engages in the enduring on-site collecting processes, selecting materials for the project. Sometimes accumulation for one art piece takes time up to a few months — Anne is scanning and sorting botanical material to find that with a needed shape, colour, or another distinctive feature. Some works consists of plant material collected in a single garden, or from a single plant. Geene’s interpretation of the collected data is self-evident within her compositions, they seem to be made to speak for themselves. As opposed to the museum’s neutrality, her interpretation is very personal.
Museum of the Plant investigates such notions as coincidence, hierarchy, destiny, social status, family relations, ownership, the norm and deviation from it — probing a human approach to the complexity of the natural. Does it result in paradoxes, or brings us closer to objectivity? Can application of the human logic and standards to the plant life benefit to a better understanding of the natural world?
In Geene’s work, the relationship between the photographic image and science is a central theme. She explores the issues of scientific objectivity and of photography as a medium used for this purpose. Although photography’s objectivity has been questioned many times, it is exactly this objectivity that gives it this probative power. This is where she finds her inspiration.