Silke Wagner: Migration and Plant

Since 5th April until 6th October 2019 on the route between central station Heilbronn, entrance and grounds of the BUGA (Federal Horticultural Show) and the Kunstverein Heilbronn / Kunsthalle Vogelmann at Allee are 13 works of the serie MIGRATION AND PLANT of Silke Wagner exhibited. For the opening of BUGA at 17th April the extensive handbook will be published – the first copies are signed by Silke Wagner!

In their foreword Matthia Löbke and Gabriele Sand write:

“Basil comes from India? Not from Italy? That is impossible!” exclaimed Carmela B., a cultural mediator with Italian roots at the Stabsstelle Partizipation und Integration Heilbronn (administrative department for participation and integration). And it is not just basil that doesn’t have Italian roots; neither does the tomato, which is actually from Peru. Ironically, ‘Mozzarella di Pomodoro’, the Italian ‘national dish’, which also reflects the national colors red, white and green, itself a culinary export hit, consists to two-thirds of ingredients that don’t come from Italy. This consternation may be continued for those unversed in all things botanical: lilac, for instance, comes from Turkey, spinach is actually from Iran, daffodils from Spain, and the kiwifruit hails from China.
It was with great insight, with joy and humor that we noticed during the preparations for the project
MIGRATION AND PLANT by Silke Wagner – be it the acquisition of funds, the collaboration with the authors, the planning of events, the concerts and lectures, the technical realization, the publication of the accompanying printed matter and the app – that migration of plants has always taken place, constantly and naturally.
We all integrate flowers and plants with a ‘migration background’ in our gardens, flower vases and on our plates. And we are generally quite unaware of the natural and everyday nature of this ‘form of integration’ that we have accomplished.
This simple and positive insight is one of the outstanding qualities of Silke Wagner’s project. The artist, born 1968 in Göppingen, who now lives and works in Frankfurt am Main, is a true specialist in the field of art in the public sphere. She initially researches societal and social phenomena of a city and, on this basis, develops their implementation into an art project. Her work is distinguished by the creation of particular
interconnections between aesthetic and societal, between political and social components. For this reason, Kunstverein Heilbronn decided to invite Silke Wagner to realize a work in the city center concurrent to the Federal Garden Show. A special feature of Heilbronn is its unusually high proportion of people with a history of migration. 140 nations live in this city, 53.3 % of all inhabitants have a migration background. Combining migration and plants seems obvious and, above all, brilliant, since it offers the opportunity to illustrate and negotiate migration-related topics. The artist developed a display of thirteen floral works depicting migration statistics. Formally, Silke Wagner’s presentation of these graphic works was initially inspired by the colors and shapes of the two illustrated plants. Abstract and concrete aspects intermesh, a quality that accompanies the entire project. Choosing the bus and train stops to display their plant statistics, first of all, addresses the issue of human movement. Furthermore, waiting for the next bus is boring for most public transport users, so it provides a perfect opportunity to draw attention to the project. We hope to be able to raise awareness of this important, very present and often rather negative topic.