An intriguing new exhibition titled “PLAN(e)T,” which marries scientific research with art to unravel the beauty, sophistication, cultural significance and human exploitation of plants, opened last week at Tel Aviv’s Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery.
“We tend to view plants as objects: in the room there is a table, a chair, and a potted plant; outside there is a building, a bench, and a tree,” co-curators Tamar Mayer and gallery director Sefy Hendler say in their curatorial notes. “Even though we know that plants are developing beings, we mostly place them closer to the world of objects than the world of living things… Plants, flowers, and trees make up the backdrop for our lives and serve us as consumer products, primarily as food.”
But in the face of climate change, the divide and lack of any real relationship between humanity and nature is no longer appropriate, they say.
“Plants Think, Think Plants,” the subtitle of the exhibition, encapsulates what is a clarion call to consider plants in a more complex, open-minded way; to appreciate that plants are highly “intelligent” — although in ways that differ from animals, particularly humans — and to question the low rung to which humans consign plants in the hierarchy of living things.