The Secret Life of Urban Plants
Artist Lise Duclaux closely and playfully observes the world around us. Her current exhibition focuses on ‘Little Plants in the Crannied Sidewalk’
As we walk down the city streets, below our feet are many stories waiting to be discovered. We can learn from the local residents who have been on the streets for generations and observe stubborn colonizers who have made the city home. But who are these characters that live in the cement we travel across every day? They are, in fact, plants whose forgettable presence is the inspiration behind artist Lise Duclaux’s exhibition ‘Little Plant in the Crannied Sidewalk’ that is currently on show at Belgian Gallery LMNO.
The artist’s intricately fine drawings were developed during her six-month residency at the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York. During this time, Duclaux scoured the streets for plants that she classified into the categories of ‘aliens’, ‘natives’ of ‘invasives’. She also documented the man-made waste that was often found alongside this natural vegetation.
One subversive plant that the artist observed in her field research was the Chinese plant called Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) that has “invaded” the New York streets.
The exploration of the tenacity and resilience of urban plants is a continued fascination for the artist who has previously has completed other projects around this topic. One such project was about tiny urban seeds which were captured through colored photography.
In addition to the artist’s drawings, the exhibition displays slogans, sentences and poetic odes that accumulated throughout the residency. There are also traces from the performative artwork that Lise Duclaux gave, in which she drew onto the walls and windows of the gallery.
Through the exhibition, the plants have again migrated from their current home of New York to Brussels. The artist, not only seems to be examining plants but also reflecting on our nomadic and migratory lifestyles in the 21st-century.
‘Little Plant in the Crannied Sidewalk’ will be on display at LMNO until December 22