Direct Garden Access
by László Hatházi
In this work entitled „Direct Garden Access“ I focused on the peculiar relationship between humans and the plant world. The perception of plants has been a research topic for scholars of natural and other related sciences for a long time. Their research has proved that plants are able to sense effects coming from their direct environment. According to some extreme views, they are able to read the human mind as well. Several literary works and motion pictures have influenced me to collect documentations of scientific, humorous and even grotesque experiments which are displayed in this work in the form of writing, carbon-paper drawings and an installation. In my interieurs, which all reflect a personal touch, plants play an important role. Compared to my older series, the visuality of these current artworks represents a great change. In these new pieces you can see clear colours and simplified forms and the use of industrial glaze paint.
The story of this project has started a long time ago. The place, where I live, is surrounded by a lot of plants. There might be too many of them. To find place for the new arrivals is a tough job, the place is almost full now. During my short career I have focused on plants, humans and their relationship in many of my works. For instance, the photo series I made with Balázs Antal, entitled „Urban Glasshouses“, depicts empty and abandoned shopwindows, where local workers keep on nursing plants. A few years ago I made a series of paintings called Anima Botanica about glass houses.
My current project includes two interieurs in which plants play an important role. As there are no people present, objects, plants and animals are replacing them. In these interieurs plants react as a sort of indicators, as if they were aware of the processes in the background. The lying snake plant in my picture entitled „Storm“ or those other plants in „The Green Room“ waiting to be replanted, all represent the emotional state of their caretakers and assume a direct connection between the two parties.
Ildikó Enyedi’s „Magician Simon“ - especially one certain episode in it - has been a crucial movie experience for me. Here, during his investigation Simon finds the murderer with the help of the victim’s beloved plant. By using some electronical devices, he is able to monitor its emotional reactions towards the victim’s friends entering the room and consequently to force the murderer to admit the crime. The idea that devices can help to demonstrate the emotions and reactions of plants, made me deal with the topic.
Later I found a documentary from the 1970s (The Secret Life of Plants, directed by Walon Greeen)) which contains several chapters discussing this topic. One of the characters in the film, Cleve Backster used the polygraph to study the reactions of the philadendron in his laboratory and got incredible results. Dr Hashimoto and his wife constructed instruments, which transformed the signs produced by a cactus into human voice. This discovery convinced them, that there was no limit to teach the Japanese alphabet to their favourite cactus. While Russian experiments proved that a cabbage plant is able to identify the executer of its „comrade“.
Later I found a novel by Géza Perneczky called The age of the klorofil, that deals with the same topic but in a more poetic way. In this writing, Perneczky mentions the same scienticts, who made researches in this topic. I have planned to make illustrations for this unpublished novel of Perneczky.
Besides the interieurs, the related parts of the documentary is presented through carbon-paper drawings. The personal and scientific suggestions meet in the plants.