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Christine Borland

(Scotland 1965 – )

Winter garden
Media category
Materials used
12 hand blown glass vessels containing bleached specimens of Pennyroyal preserved in alcohol solution

12 glass vessels: dimensions variable:

Each part; 17.7 x 12.7 x 10.1 cm; each approx.

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Mervyn Horton Bequest Fund 2002
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

'Winter garden' was made in Australia for the 2001 Melbourne Festival exhibition 'Humid'. It incorporates many of the ideas that have come to be associated with Borland's work, such as medical and scientific research, museological display, and themes of body and spirit, life and death. This work has been a direct response to local research, for example the specimens pickled in the alcohol are a local plant that was apparently used medicinally by aboriginal people, specifically for birth control. The vessels themselves are based on the form of the human womb but also have the pragmatic appearance of scientific vessels or specimen jars with their foil-covered caps. There is also a faint echo of the medieval reliquary in these objects - traces of lost bodies awaiting reunion in the afterlife. The fragments of human anatomy are slumped on the floor as if they have fallen like fruits separated from the tree. In fulfilment of their purpose their contents are bleached plants that also speak of the cycle of life and death and what is more these specific plants have been used to intervene in the process of birth. Then again they are like tear drops shed over the parting of souls.

Bibliography (2)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 12.

Anthony Bond, Contemporary: Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Collection, 'Imagining the body', pg.246-289, Sydney, 2006, 248, 256, 257 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (1)

Humid, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, South Bank, 11 Oct 2001–25 Nov 2001

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