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Geraniums stem into art

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4 May 2012

Crumbling Ecologies
Crumbling Ecologies

The humble geranium leaf has risen to star status in an exhibition titled Crumbling Ecologies currently on show at Craft Victoria.

Monash University PhD Fine Arts student Jasmine Targett has carefully constructed over 35,000 porcelain geranium leaves on the verge of crumbling as a metaphor for cuts to art and conservation funding in Victoria.

The works symbolise the fragility of the artistic environment in times of economic crisis, raising questions about the value of art to culture and society.

More than 100 artists from across Victoria and New South Wales contributed to the display, where viewers are invited to take a leaf for free or pay what they think it is worth.

Ms Targett said she was inspired to use geraniums because species of the plant are critically endangered or extinct in parts of the world.

“In Melbourne, geraniums sit ambiguously between a plant and a weed deriving connotations of being outdated and old-fashioned,” Ms Targett said.

“Geraniums symbolise the economic impact on the ecological equilibrium and the importance of preserving craft as a diverse form of contemporary arts practice.”

In 2010 Ms Targett was the recipient of a Young Artist Grant from the City of Melbourne for her research project ‘Life Support Systems’.

Due to the work’s cultural and artistic merit, it was curated into the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Wonderland exhibition in Taipei earlier this year.

The works in Crumbling Ecologies have been funded by the City of Melbourne Arts Projects grants.

Senior Curator at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, Grace Cochrane, dubbed within the industry the ‘grandmother of Australian craft’, was flown in by Craft Victoria to open the exhibition.

Crumbling Ecologies will be on display until 9 June at Craft Victoria, 31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Entry is free.

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