About the public garden installation:
Battlefield at the Kunsthalle Osnabrück 2022-23 is an extension of Gabriella Hirst’s research garden of the same name, which has been located on the Tempelhofer Feld community gardens in Berlin since 2014. It is an expanding archive of plants whose official names (species, cultivar or genus) makes some reference to the military. The project considers how the language of western gardening and military conquest are entangled, western gardening as embroiled in a physiology of territorial conquest as well as tenderness
The approximately 200 plant varieties brought together for ‘Battlefield’, each bare the name of a famous battle, conquered territory, military general or weapon. Some names are colloquial (a red dahlia marketed as Dahlia ‘Grenade‘, Orchid ‘militaris‘, named for its cap-like petals), whilst many more are more historical (a rose named in 1947 as Rosa floribunda ‘Battle of Britain‘, Clematis ‘Heroes of Warsaw‘). The living collection is planted together in a semi-formal garden installation whose structure draws upon various episodes from western garden history and military formations: symmetrical bedding plans, medieval plant climbing structures, a colonial Wardian case. Roots from Napoleonic battles mix with those referencing post 9/11 USA defence strategies, bulbs named to celebrate Northern Irish combatants lie dormant over the summer months, vines celebrating defeated Polish revolutionaries overgrow roses named in the 1930’s by Nazi horticultural propagandists. The care required by both the plants, and the language and stories they carry, is shared through a series of seasonal workshops. The stories gathered so far through Hirst’s battlefield research (both the historical research and the embodies gardening research) are collected in an accompanying publication.
The exhibition was curated by Anja Lückenkemper and Anna Voswinckel.
About the publication
Battlefield is a riso-printed publication accompanying the garden installation Battlefield at the Kunsthalle Osnabrück. The publication includes an index of the stories behind every plant in the Battlefield living garden archive, including excerpts from email correspondence with plant societies, gardening blogs, historic archives, plant care tips, personal anecdotes and speculations alongside compiled ephemera and research material gathered from the Battlefield project from 2014 to the present day.
This publication is from a limited special edition of 250 paired with a to-scale poster print of a preliminary drawing of Battlefield at the Kunsthalle Osnabruck.
Gabriella Hirst (she/her) is an artist. She was born and grew up on Cammeraygal land (Australia) and is currently living between Berlin and London. She works primarily with moving image, performance, and with the garden as a site of critique and care. Gabriella’s practice explores the politics of capture- most recently in relation to museums, gardens and irrigation. She maintains an ongoing research/garden project with curator Warren Harper navigating the entanglements of nuclear armament and colonial gardening practices.
Gabriella’s recent projects have been exhibited and commissioned by the Kunsthalle Osnabrück (DE), Focal Point Gallery (UK), The Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Australian Center for the Moving Image (AU). She is the recipient of the 2020 ACMI/Ian Potter Moving Image Commission, is a previous Marten Bequest Scholar and a recipient of the John Crampton Fellowship. She is an associate lecturer in Media Studies with the RCA School of Architecture.
Anna Voswinckel is a freelance curator and designer based in Berlin. She has been teaching art and photography for several years. Recent curatorial projects include „Gabriella Hirst: Battlefield“ at Kunsthalle Osnabrück (2022), „…oder kann das weg? Fallstudien zur Nachwende“ at nGbK Berlin (2021), Redirection Berlin (with Tsao Yidi) (2021) She has also designed books for artists, among others: Kerstin Honeit, Michaela Meise, Karolin Meunier, Marion von Osten.
The work of Jasper Otto Eisenecker, (*1985 in Berlin, lives in Hanover) includes the conception and design of publications, websites and visuals with commissioners from the field of art and culture. He understands his role as a graphic designer less as a service, but as a dialogue at eye level, in which the process-oriented work also leaves room for experimentation. Since 2019 he teaches typography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover and Bremen.