En Plein Air

Visual art

En Plein Air is a site-specific investigation of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, exploring its layered histories and its capacity to become a catalyst for dialogue and exchange. The work consists of a living installation incorporating sculpture, drawing and printmaking, located in a tiny heritage building known as Magnet House. Originally used to store instruments for measuring changes in the earth’s magnetic field, Magnet House has been temporarily transformed into a hybrid exhibition space and mobile artists’ studio, open to the interactions and contributions of the visiting public.

As part of the project, the artists have been taking components of this studio out into the Gardens to study selected plants in the collection—drawing specimens, having conversations with people and making a series of solar etchings. The installation in Magnet House reflects on the contested colonial histories of these plants and the meanings they hold for people today, embedding these stories amidst the material traces of the artists’ own presence as ‘field researchers’ on the site. Audiences, other artists and anyone with an interest in plants are invited to come and interact with the installation and with the artists themselves, who will be inhabiting the work intermittently throughout the course of the exhibition.


Karl Logge, Tessa Rapaport

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[ Project website: www.makeshift.com.au/enpleinair ]


[in alphabetical order]

Arts NSW
Royal Botanic Gardens
Sidney Myer Fund