Growing Sculptures: Interview with Diana Scherer

by Anna Roos van Wijngaarden

One of the pioneers in biotech art is Diana Scherer, a German researcher and sculptor who lived in Amsterdam for over 20 years. At the core of her botanical installations, textiles and photography lies a great admiration for and curiosity about what neurobiologists call “the brain of plants.” The artist studies plants and root systems so as to control their “natural” growth processes. In her studio she creates artificial biotopes to grow her root art using soil, seeds, light and subterranean templates from both natural and man-made patterns. The roots follow these patterns and from there on, the work grows itself.

Her latest commission for the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, ‘Entanglement’ (2022), explores xylem vessels, the critical tissue responsible for transportation of water through plants. We talked to Scherer about her slow “collaboration with nature” and how it intersects with science, ecology, and sculpture.