Kristina Norman and Bita Razavi are presenting, in close collaboration with curator Corina L. Apostol, Orchidelirium. An Appetite for Abundance – connecting the past with the present, all through the lens of colonial botany and its socio-political ramifications.
The exhibition takes as its point of departure the overlooked story of the Estonian nineteenth-century artist and world traveler Emilie Rosalie Saal. Her work as an artist of tropical botanical flora combined with her personal history serves as a case study for entangled histories of self-determination, colonial experiences, neo-colonial structures, botany, science and art. The title of the project reflects the orchid madness that gripped Europeans in the nineteenth century, Saal included, fed by an abundance of botanical illustrations that erased contexts and promoted an extractivist vision of local landscapes and people.
Participating since 1997, this is the thirteenth time Estonia is exhibiting at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. For 2022, the Mondriaan Fond has invited the Estonian Pavilion to be exhibited in the historical Dutch pavilion in Giardini della Biennale. The Estonian Centre for Contemporary Art is the official representative of the Estonian exposition and it is financed by Estonian Ministry of Culture.