The Weinbergers Bring Their Home Voodoo To The Arnolfini

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 13 December 2006
a black and white photograph showing weeds growing on snow covered scrubland with an urban sprawl in the distance

Lois & Franziska Weinberger, Berlin Marzahn, 1994.

The Arnolfini in Bristol is hosting the first major UK exhibition showcasing the practice of Austrian artist duo Lois and Franziska Weinberger, whose work takes in a wide variety of artistic media.

Running until February 4 2007, the two have been allotted three galleries to display their wares, which include sculpture, found objects, text pieces, large-scale mural drawings and maps, slide works, photography, video installations and site specific interventions – and a garden.

Central to the Weinberger’s research - and informing much of their work - is the idea of the garden as a metaphor for society. From their base just outside Vienna the two have been engaged in an 11 year project to cultivate a garden of ‘endangered’ wild plants and weeds collected during the collapse of communism.

a colour photograph of a snowman with a plant pot on its head

Lois & Franziska Weinberger Home Voodoo I, 2004. An (almost) Posthumous Scene.

Visitors to the gallery are able to view this process through a series of slide images, showing the couple happily wandering and foraging in the undergrowth of central Europe.

They are also shown building a voodoo snowman in their garden/allotment. This piece reveals the peculiar sense of ritual to be found in their work as the duo make good use of some of their deceased mother’s possessions – amongst other things.

The Garden Archive also naturally reveals a large selection of urban plants, commonly referred to as weeds, which were selected from various European locations before being transported and cultivated in a garden near Vienna by Lois Weinberger.

The duo say they are drawn to the wild vegetation’s capacity for survival in the most inhospitable conditions - often on the fringes of urban life - and in the past they have re-planted many of their collection in the heart of the city.

a colour photograph of a man and a woman in a field next to a dirt track on which is parked a car

Lois & Franziska Weinberger Home Voodoo II, 2004.

For the German Festival Documenta X they made a garden amongst the tracks of a disused railway line and planted their endangered weeds between the dug up pavements around the central station in Kassel.

The exhibition also includes the Transportable Garden (specially cultivated slabs of weed brought over in steel boxes) and an installation called the Marginal Room consisting of drawings, found objects and other works.

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