The first thing visitors notice on entering the Helvetia Art Foyer is “Monstera”, which is indeed a monstrous piece. The large cloud of black leaves floating in the high-ceilinged exhibition space is hard to miss. Franziska Furter’s installation takes the decorative house plant monstera deliciosa, also known as the “Swiss cheese plant” due to the holes in its leaves, and turns it into something quite sinister. Andreas Karcher, Head of the Art Department at Helvetia, explains: “The artist recreated the leaves of a monstera plant in black PVC, fixed them to plastic branches and hung them from the ceiling on nylon threads.”
The current exhibition in the Helvetia Art Foyer, entitled “Hortus Botanicus”, is a collection of horticultural painting, drawing, photography and sculpture. Works from seven artists make up a temporary botanical garden of art. They include paintings, drawings and photographs from the Helvetia art collection as well as several loaned pieces. Karcher sheds light on the idea behind the exhibition: “The artists aren’t natural scientists, and their works aren’t about botanical gardens. What connects them is an interest in investigating and visualising the aesthetic potential of the plant kingdom.” Their intention is not to depict plants in a scientifically accurate way. “The aim of this exhibition is to collect works in a single space that together form a temporary botanical garden of art.”
The works in the exhibition are by Franziska Furter, Marianne Engel, Tobias Nussbaumer, Lorenz Oliver Schmid, Annelies Strba, Andriu Deplazes and Helmuth Mahrer. The exhibition can be viewed for free until 24 August 2017 (see info box).