Environmental art is Pertaining to Things Natural at ancient Chelsea Physic Garden

By Culture24 Reporter | 18 July 2012
A photo of a garden with a neatly cut green lawn and foliage hanging overhead
© DS Pugh
Exhibition: Pertaining to Things Natural, Chelsea Physic Garden, London, until October 31 2012

Pertaining to Things Natural was how 17th century pioneers defined “physic” – a reminder of the study of medicinal potential of plants which London’s most historic botanic garden once pursued so innovatively.

With those contemporary roots in mind, a multitude of contemporary artists contemplate aspects of environmentalism in a display overseen by curator David Worthington, the Vice President of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and a former stone carver for Anish Kapoor.

“The whole project has grown organically in response to the history and legacy of the garden and its scientific work,” he reflects. “The more all of us researched into that history, the more we discovered.

“The opportunity to stage an exhibition in these grounds was exciting to all of us. We are very grateful for the enthusiasm of the directors of the Garden, as well as the team of gardeners.”

Worthington says the resident horticulturalists have been “enormously helpful” during the planning of a show of delicate interventions, often responding directly to the gardens.

It’s been co-organised by contemporary group Art Happens, assisted by the environmental-art expertise of Eden Lab and The Eden Project.

“The collaboration allows us to look at ways of building a platform for artists to contribute to the ecological movement through exhibitions and creative projects,” says Peter Hampel, of the Lab.

  • Open 12pm-5pm (6pm Sunday, 10pm Wednesday until September 5, closed Monday and Saturday). Admission £9/£6.
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