Martina della Valle: ONE FLOWER ONE LEAF
10 jul 2017 by Ana Ordas Prieto
Martina Della Valle, Kapwani Kiwanga, Natalie Czech, Milena Bonilla and Luisa Ungar around which the exhibition ‘Flowers are Documents' unfolds. This innovative project curated by Emanuele Guidi takes place at ar/ge kunst in Bolzano, Italy. The exhibition showcases works whose main interest is on flowers and flower arrangement. The artwork opens a field of variant perspectives were flower arrangements are more than just aesthetic but symbolic. The successive arrangement intertwines the natural process of ‘blossoming’ with the process of ageing, stressing the time-based nature of the ‘matter’ in display and to offer the viewer a dynamic body of works that changes daily. The exhibition is divided into two arrangements, the one that is on at the moment is arrangement II. Constituting of projects Constituting of projects from four artists, ‘Flowers for Africa’ by Kapwani Kiwanga, ‘A Critic’s Bouquet’ by Natalie Czech, ' Ladies Parrots and Narcotics' by Milena Bonilla and Luisa Ungar, and the one that specifically caught our interest: 'One flower, One leaf' by Martina della Valle in collaboration with Ikebana artist Rie Ono.
Martina’s project surfaced from a set of old negatives that she had found on a trip to Japan. The artist found interested in them and after printing and working with them she found that they must have belonged to an Ikebana master. This bloomed her interest in the concepts that compose the flower arrangement technique. ‘One flower, one leaf’ grew from there. The name of the project is based on a quote from Sōfu Teshigahara (Ikebana artist) “One Flower, One Leaf; Thousands of Flowers, Millions of Leaves: A Whole Universe Within”. The practice stems from the concept of beauty of the things that are “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete” (Leonard Koren) it is an observation that inspires a reflection on the possibilities of human intervention on nature, as arranging, selecting and setting an object changes its value and meaning.
The project is an interactive workshop where Della Valle and Ikebana practitioner Rie Ono go to different cities and work with groups of people from that city to explore the founding concepts that make up the marginal areas of the city through Ikebana. During the experience the participants are first exposed to a brief introduction of Ikebana, its origins and its principles. Then they are taken to the neglected parts of the city and its surroundings where they select spontaneous materials of the vegetation (weeds, moss, leaves) later participants create their own arrangement with the materials found, this arrangement becomes a symbol of the city, the time and the place, where materials that were previously thought of as pesticides become something beautiful, symbolic and unique through the process of Ikebana. The whole process results in a series of photographs that document the journey that the participants encountered.
In the exhibition, the results of the previous workshops held in Prato (DRYPHOTO arte contemporanea) and Rome (MAXXI Museum) in 2016 are displayed next to a big ikebana composed with local plants by Rie Ono at the entrance of the gallery space. Placed next to and in dialogue with the arrangements by the other artists 'One flower One leaf' opens various lines of thought through the curatorial proposition by Emanuele Guidi and produces a unique exhibition worth visiting.