gula blommor som svävar i luften


In Allora & Calzadilla’s  Graft thousands of blossoms from a Roble amarillo tree (Tabebuia chrysantha), an oak species native to the Caribbean, fill the air in the new university building Natrium at Gothenburg University. The blossoms fall from a tree that is not there. Yet they float freely in the air as if suspended in a moment in time.

The term “graft” is used in horticulture to name the practice consisting of joining different plant parts and even different plant species with the aim of regenerating them. By using this term, the title of the Allora & Calzadilla’s artwork alludes to the symbolic transplanting of a portion of these non-native trees to the Natrium building in Gothenburg.

Graft alludes to environmental changes that have been set in motion through the interlocking effects of colonial exploitation and climate change.  Systemic depletion of Caribbean flora and fauna is one of the primary legacies of colonial rule. The Caribbean is considered the area of greatest vulnerability in the present era of increasingly extreme weather events. Nonetheless, the region remains one of the planet’s 36 biodiversity hotspots, areas that support nearly 60% of the world’s plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species but that amount to just 2.4% of the earth’s land surface.

In their unnatural stillness, the flowers in Graft reflect this fragile ecological predicament. The yellow flowers from the Roble amarillo tree hang delicately in the atrium, suspended in the central space of the building. The flowers are recreated as in a natural history museum where artificial vegetation is often used to illustrate the flora of a particular region. The artwork creates a magical visual effect at the heart of the new building for the University of Gothenburg, inviting us to enjoy the beauty of natural phenomena.

Graft relates thematically to the activities in the building Natrium by bringing to attention how matters of climate change and biodiversity are interlinked on a global scale. In doing so, it reminds us about the importance to take a stand on the environmental challenges we are facing today.

Artist biography Allora & Calzadilla

Jennifer Allora (b. 1974) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. 1971) live and work in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Collaborating since 1995, they have exhibited extensively both in solo and group shows across the world in venues such as Tate Modern, London; MAXXI, Rome; Guggenheim Bilbao; MoMA, New York; and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. They represented the United States at the 54th Venice Biennial.