as part of the group exhibition
Chance Ecologies: Queens, Queens Museum
October 8 – 30, 2016
Curated by Catherine Grau and Nathan Kensinger
Kristyna and Marek Milde, Gone Wild, 2016, installation view at the Queens Museum, framed photographs, table, molding, vase, local wild flowers, photo album documenting residency research and the public workshop “Wild Flower Boutique: Flushing River/ Dyberry Creek”, 2016 at Studio in the Park at the Queens Museum, dimensions 8′ x 8′ x 3′
Gone Wild, an ongoing project by the artist duo Kristyna and Marek Milde, explores the theme of flowers in our culture: their use, symbolism, and traditions, while also examining the ways they can educate and generate awareness about the environment and ecology. The project’s central idea is to utilize uncultivated local plants and wildflowers considered as “weeds” in place of their cultivated counterparts. In the process the artists forage local wild flowers, both in the wild and also in the urban and industrial landscapes, to create flower bouquets and arrangements, which they use for their situationist interventions, and in variety of forms that include interactive installations and workshops, reframing cultural conventions.
For the Gone Wild at the Queens Museum Mildes created an installation resembling a domestic situation, consisting of table with the bouquet and assembly of framed family photographs hanging on the wall above and a family album in the drawer.
Following the progress of seasonal changes local wildflower sample foraged weekly by the artists from the Flushing River area are arranged into a bouquet on the tabletop to create a symbolic bridge to Nature crossing the environmental isolation of the domestic reality.
A family photo album in the drawer presents additional images from the Wild Flower Boutique workshop, where community members created their own wildflower bouquets, in exchange for a photograph, while using them in festivities or as decorative displays at home.
Installation view from Gone Wild at the Queens Museum as part of the exhibition Chance Ecologies: Queens, September 2016
For the Gone Wild installation at the Queens Museum Mildes create series of wild flower bouquets using wild plants and flowers gathered in the postindustrial landscapes surrounding the Flushing River, Queens. In the course of the project the artists keep continually supplying fresh foraged flowers to create a symbolic bridge to Nature crossing the environmental isolation of the domestic reality.
Documentation of making the wild flower bouquets for the Gone Wild: Flowers for Queens Museum
The framed photos, in which people hold wild flowers bouquets, show various interventions in to the cultural rituals and festivities in which the artists offer individuals and communities to adapt wild flowers in to their festivities such as weddings, sweet sixteen celebrations, or children birthdays etc. For example during the Chance Ecologies: Flushing River artists gave wild flower bouquets to community members in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, who were celebrating their quinceañera (sweet 15), and weddings.
‘’While flowers function as a social mediator, we believe using them in the wild instead of its cultivated form may bring different symbolism in to our rituals. As wild signifies unpretentiousness we think the idea of Gone Wild can push our social relationships closer to honesty, allowing to express emotion and sentiments in a more candid way.”
In the table drawer a family photo album can be found, documenting Mildes recent project Wild Flower Boutique: Flushing River/ Dyberry Creek made during their Chance Ecologies residency at the Studio in The Park in the summer 2016. The project in a form of a street florist stand became a platform for a public workshop on wild flower bouquet making, offering to local community an active experience of the surrounding nature. The flowers were available to the participants to take, in exchange for taking a photograph, while using them in their festivities and decorative displays at home. The Wild Flower Boutique has been developed based on walks, expeditions and research of plants around the Flushing River, Queens and Dyberry Creek, PA, in which the artists explored similarity and differences of ecosystems between the urban, post-industrial versus rural, post-agrarian landscapes.
Images of bouquets made by the participants during the Wild Flower Boutique workshop as utilized in their festivities and home decorations.
Photo credit: workshop participants.
While replacing the wild for the cultivated flowers, in the Gone Wild Mildes review the idea of beauty, the natural versus artificial, together with the symbolism of plants and flowers in general, exploring what role its idealized image, representation and cultivated forms plays in our traditions and lifestyles. The project responding to a variety of sites and ecosystems is a window in to the overseen and underestimated beauty of wild plants around us. Gone Wild presents a symbolic bridge between culture and nature, a model that can connect our cultural narratives, everyday rituals and important events in life with the happenings and events of the ever-changing cycle of seasons.