Lotte Geeven
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soda palm suite, 2011.
Installation in The National Museum, Yogyakarta & in Heden, The Hague

From September to November 2010 Lotte Geeven stayed as artist in residence at Cemeti in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. On site she collected and researched patterns and plants wanting to find out more about the meaning and role of these reoccurring images within her body of work. This search moved from banana plantations in the night to grey volcano ash covered gardens and resulted in Soda Palm Suite.

Thinking of a garden- A short text written by Heidi Vogels for Soda Palm Suite

“It is 16 hours, 45. Should I have described Juliette or the leaves? It was really impossible anyways to describe both… so let us just say that the leaves and Juliette fluttered gently in that late October afternoon.” Thinking of a garden in a city, I think of many gardens. I think of the botanical garden with its special collection of palm trees and of lingering summer evenings on a friend’s roof terrace. I also think of that beautiful apartment I once stayed, with high ceilings, Art Nouveau tiles and very affordable. Each room had double doors. They were open all the time, as if they were escorting you from one space to another. In the heart of summer, when it was too hot to do anything, you could just sit there and enjoy an entrancing cooling breeze coming through. Footsteps changing pace, noisy traffic whistling past your window at night, the cracks in the concrete pavement and the enchanting names of unknown streets: they serve as a focal point when you enter some place new. In series of brief encounters, however fleeting, they depict the space in a few seconds, just as you found it, in its own unique set of circumstances. A space in which all elements are interrelated, giving access to the small histories, countless dwellings through which one can situate a city, inside and outside, layer by layer and place one self. These moments remind me of a garden because the gaze with which you encounter a new space, welcomes capturing fragments of this reality and rearranging them. The gaze frames, includes and excludes, places the elements it captures. Within the gaze the program of a garden manifests itself. A garden is an ‘other space’. It is a site that both belongs to and at the same time exists outside of our society. The space of a garden alludes to dreaming, to creating, to exploring, and to remembering. Trees, flowers, plants are quartered and sorted or arranged in deliberate chaos. In all their abundance and simplification the limited space of a garden is re-imagined into another landscape. Enclosed and open, outside and indoors, functional and as a dreamed or desired object, the garden comprises many spaces. Whether it is a forgotten plant archive in boxes covered in dust or a flowering oleander tree out on the porch. Whether it is Juliette or leaves moving gently in the wind. Whether spaces are quartered or not, within these spaces the actuality of our lived reality flows together with the illusion of an ideal image of a landscape that we keep and cherish at that moment in time. These are the gardens of the city. Enclosed within walls or within the spaces they circumscribe, these gardens grant us to take a look beyond its parameters.