In this episode, I’m interviewing Gina Buenfeld-Murley, exhibitons curator of the Camden Art Centre and co-curator of the online exhibition The Botanical Mind. In this episode, we go deep into the relation between art and the natural world and talk about sacred geometry, indigenous art, symbolism, Jung, the mysterious Voynich manuscript and why this exhibition is so pertinent given the current relationship humans have to the rest of nature.
Dr Ian Bedford’s Bug of the Week: Pollen beetles
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What we talk about:
Sacred geometry and that patterns that are found in nature and in entheogenic experiences and which occur at the micro and macro level
Georgio Griffa’s writing, which forms part of the exhibition, talks of art and science two being in extricably linked. How do seemingly pre-determined and logical patterns such as fractals influence art? Do the patterns stop being science when they are recreated by a human hand?
How can we be inspired by indigenous art and nature appreciation, both past and present, whilst avoiding cultural appropriation or slipping into romanticism?
The Voynich Manuscript
The significance of Jung’s archetypes in relation to botany
About The Botanical Mind and Gina Buenfeld-Murley
Humanity’s place in the natural order is under scrutiny as never before, held in a precarious balance between visible and invisible forces: from the microscopic threat of a virus to the monumental power of climate change.
Drawing on indigenous traditions from the Amazon rainforest; alternative perspectives on Western scientific rationalism; and new thinking around plant intelligence, philosophy and cultural theory, The Botanical Mind Online investigates the significance of the plant kingdom to human life, consciousness and spirituality across cultures and through time. It positions the plant as both a universal symbol found in almost every civilisation and religion across the globe, and the most fundamental but misunderstood form of life on our planet.
Gina Buenfeld-Murley is Exhibitions Curator at Camden Art Centre, London where she has co-curated The Botanical Mind: Art, Mysticism and The Cosmic Tree (2020-21); A Tale of Mother’s Bones: Grace Pailthorpe, Reuben Mednikoff and the Birth of Psychorealism (2019); Athanasios Argianas, Hollowed Water (2020); Wong Ping, Heart Digger (2019); Yuko Mohri, Voluta, (2018); Joachim Koester, In the Face of Overwhelming Forces (2017); João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, Papagaio (2015); Bonnie Camplin (2016) and Rose English (2016). Recent independent curatorial projects include Gäa: Holistic Science and Wisdom Tradition, at Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange, Cornwall, and Origin Story, at The Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku, Finland (both 2019). In 2017 she was curatorial resident at Helsinki International Curatorial Programme, Finland and has been researching the place of plants within indigenous cultures in Europe and South America, including in Finnish Lapland (Samí shamanism) and in the Colombian, Peruvian and Brazilian areas of the Amazon Rainforest where she researched the sacred geometries and music of the Yawanawa, Huni Kuin and Shipibo-Conibo peoples. In 2014-15 she was curator-in-residence with Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT) and established Tokyo Correspondence, a series of exhibitions, residencies and research visits, facilitating cultural dialogue between artists in the UK and Japan and curated At the Still Point of the Turning World at Shibaura House Tokyo, featuring work by Manon de Boer; Joachim Koester; Simon Martin; Ursula Mayer; Jeremy Millar; Sriwhana Spong; Jesse Wine; and Caroline Achaintre. She was previously Director at Alison Jacques Gallery, London.