Pteridophilia I Zheng Bo

Courtesy of the Artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

Scientist and artist Zheng Bo (1974, Beijing, China, lives and works in Hong Kong), focuses in his work on marginalized communities and marginalized plants. His oeuvre consists of living artworks and installations featuring primarily local plants (such as bamboo and ferns) and eco-queer films, with which he focuses attention on plants and in doing so aims to promote and disseminate ecological wisdom. Zheng sees a connection between excluded communities and our interaction with nature, plants having become something we regard as ‘beyond ourselves’, as consumer products, rather than parts of a connected relationship.

In the film Pteridophilia, he pushes the boundaries of our contemporary relationship with nature while at the same time providing us with a mirror image of our behaviour.

A group of queer men head out into nature, where they love and caress it, and then make love to plants. This local Taiwanese plant, the Bird's Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus), is considered a delicacy. The camera follows a young gay couple inspired by Yaoi Anime (a genre of fictional media originating from Japan and featuring homoerotic relationships between male characters) as they interact with the rolled leaves of young ferns. In another part (Pterodophilia consists of four parts, one of which is shown in the exhibition) the plant is eaten following the lovemaking. The transition from one act to another, from making love to consumption, makes you stop and think; how come the scene in which the plant is eaten seems so much crueller?

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