Flowers & Mushrooms

Flowers and mushrooms run the risk of being considered trivial subjects for contemporary art. However, in recent years they have experienced a revival as complex subjects as presented by contemporary artists, including Peter Fischli and David Weiss, David LaChapelle and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Few objects have been more symbolic in art through the ages than flowers: they have represented freshness and fertility, love in its many manifestations, transience and death. And yet in recent times they have often been reduced to a simple decorative motif. The mushroom has played a role as a remedy, a hallucinogenin the cultures of Mexico and the Vikings, and as a symbol within religious ritual. Today it can be a cheesy good luck charm or a trite hallucinogen. Contemporary art draws on these clich├ęs and explores the long and rich tradition of such representations, contributing entirely new levels of meaning, from social criticism to feminism and from reflections on the media to the erotic.