Antirrhinum Ovary I-II, 2020, photographs taken of 19th century microscope slides, archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta paper, diptych, 155 x 250 cm

Due to their common ancestor, vegetal, animal, and human embryogenesis, ontogenesis and mode of existence share much in common. However, since philosophy has ignored vegetal existence for millennia, it is the differences which are primarily in focus. An early representative of theoretically eliminating differences, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, undertook significant botanical research in addition to his literary oeuvre. Like Hegel, he was a philosopher with holistic ambitions, and thought that the science of botany was essential in order to understand the entirety of nature. Plants are components of the “great mystery” and tiny keys to understanding. He thought that vegetal life was a hidden force creating forms, i.e. by their growth and proliferation plants keep reinventing their own forms. To demonstrate the creative principle Goethe introduced the idea of vegetal metamorphosis, according to which all the organs of plants originate from the metamorphosis of an archetypal leaf (Urblatt). He regarded this metamorphosis, i.e. the theory of epigenesis, as true for all living creatures, plants, animals and human beings. When he was developing his theory about the archetypal leaf he wrote: "Hypothesis: everything is leaf, and through this simplicity the greatest diversity becomes possible."



Antirrhinum Ovary I-II, 2020, archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta paper, diptych, 155 x 250 cm, detail



Antirrhinum Ovary I-II, 2020, archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta paper, diptych, 155 x 250 cm, detail