Toxic Forest
First exhibited in The Garden of Earthly Delights (Borusan Art Gallery, Istanbul, 2005). Also included in Observatory (Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, 2013-14).

"... Today the Rhododendron ponticum is considered by many to be a weed, the attributes for which it was originally prized having proved noxious to British flora and fauna ... Different sources of light were crucial to the making of Toxic Forest. Twilight served to flatten the sculptural forms of the rhododendron plantings and obfuscate their colours ... While broad daylight, the springtime sun acting as a backlight, enabled the Barans to produce the close-ups of illuminated rhododendron flowers that make up the DVD projection accompanying the Toxic Forest landscapes in the gallery. In these slowly flashing images there is an almost pornographic use of soft-focus on the exposed sexual organs of the plant ... The sensuality of the projected, vibrantly coloured petals contrasts greatly with the sombre autumnal landscapes in the prints. Their juxtaposition recalls the duplicitous nature of the species, reminding us of the cliché that looks can deceive. We are beguiled by the Rhododendron ponticum’s seductive bloom and yet are in danger of being poisoned by its toxic honey. This duality is best described by the subtle nuances of the Ancient Greek word farmakon that means either medicine or poison depending on the dosage administered ..."

From Garden of Earthly Delights catalogue text by Anne-Marie Eze

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Selected works:

Toxic Forest #2609, 2003

Toxic Forest #2427, 2003

Toxic Forest #2622, 2003

Toxic Forest #2682, 2003

Toxic Forest (Red), 2005
Installation view, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Stills from Toxic Forest (Red), 2005
DVD projection, 69 min

Photographs copyright © Barbara & Zafer Baran