‘In my work I explore the relationship man has with his natural environment and his desire to control nature. For the past few years my fascination has mainly been focused on the dynamics of belowground plant parts. I’ve been captivated by the root system, with its hidden, underground processes; it is considered to be the brain of the plant by plant neurobiologists.
Charles Darwin was the first to watch the behaviour of plant roots. In his book The Power of Movements of Plants, he describes how roots do not passively grow down, but move and observe. A root navigates, knows what’s up and down, observes gravity and localizes moisture and chemicals. Darwin discovered that plants are a lot more intelligent, than everybody thought. For contemporary botanists, this buried matter is still a wondrous land. There is a global investigation to discover this hidden world. I also want to explore it and apply the ‘intelligence’ of plants in my work.’
Using subterranean templates as moulds, the root systems of plants are channelled, forming a textile-like material. During the growth process the roots conform to the patterns and the root material weaves or braids itself. For her research, Diana Scherer is collaborating with biologists and ecologists of the Radboud University in Nijmegen.
Rug 160 cm x 300 cm
In cooperation with UMC Nijmegen; Netherlands.
Nurture Studies, Van Zoetendaal Publishers
With Nurture Studies, Scherer presents an archive of flowers she has grown from seed over a six-month period. Rather than letting the flowers grow in open soil, she has forced each plant to develop within the confines of a vase. Only at the end of the process does she remove the plant’s corset, exposing roots that retain their shape as an evocation of the now absent vase.