Courtesy of the Artist Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

Idiots is the name of Dutch artist duo Floris Bakker and Afke Golsteijn (1975, Amsterdam), who are best known for their taxidermy works, stuffed animals which they combine with precious stones, glass, pearls, embroidery and forged metal.

In A New Order | A New Earth, they exhibit a new series of works, this time not using stuffed animals as their source of material, but dead plants, which they first sowed and harvested themselves before giving them new ‘life’ through these installations. The result looks like a contemporary pallet of shamanism and the rituals of primitive societies, a world of plants that hang in the exhibition space like skeletons, with the earth it took root in still partly in its grasp. Upside down, like our priorities in the world today.

These plants cannot be categorised as species; they have become universal plants, but also universal shapes. Those who look with an open mind will see structures from both the micro and macro worlds, like the veins of leaves, and structures found in human tissue.

The work came about as result of a purifying ritual. The plants were grown on a rough piece of land adjacent to the artists’ studio in the Dutch town of Weesp. It is a piece of neglected no-man's-land between Het Domein and the railway line between Amsterdam and Hilversum. It took years of investment to make this contaminated piece of land usable again. For Idiots, this was a sign of the resilience of nature and mankind. A successful dialogue between them and the neglected land resulted in growth, which they in turn took back to their studio. It was a co-creation with nature; not manipulation, not cultivation, but rather bending with and adapting to nature’s own shapes and idiosyncrasies. This work retains echoes of their earlier taxidermy works, but it shifts the focus of attention to nature in a broader sense, and on a much larger scale.

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