Kristin Wenzel has imagined her exhibition space as a fragment of wild nature embedded with orchids.
Ripe with tricks, devious and adorned with chameleonic, slippery labellum traps, the flesh of the hung orchids attracts and repulses at the same time. Their flesh is dry and spectacularly colored, empty, with no bee inside, no fruit in the flesh of the cavern, no juice, no sap. Desire and imagination only.
During the orchidelirium (also known as the orchid mania of the 19th century), orchids were often understood and treated as feminine, “marvelously docile.. their life, a reflection of what is around them.” Their exotic and sensual aura transformed the orchid into a luxury commodity that colonialists were bringing more and more to Europe. Originally growing in wild habitats, the orchid was slowly domesticated and given an orthodox-allure that became easily recognizable.
Returning to nature during the pandemic, Kristin Wenzel’s daily walks in the forest inspired her to make the playful orchid series. The lack of sexual adventures, absence of flirt or mingling bodies have been contrasted by the charming and fantastic lying and alluring ability of the orchids. The wild orchids are reminiscent of Georgia O’Keeffe and her intense painterly surfaces, carrying a subliminal touch of female sexuality and gender representation.
Flesh dance attracts the viewers into deep synesthesia close to a flirtatious encounter in the botanical garden shown in the background of the booth. The installation transforms the familiarity of the orchids into uncanny images of sexuality. With coloured, fleshy tongues, water dropping in their cavities, and pierced by rings and chains, the orchids seduce each other to seemingly lure the others in their mesh.