The Poison Garden, Adele Wilkes, 2021

03 Jun - 06 Nov 2022
Adele Wilkes, The Poison Garden (excerpt), 2021

Adele Wilkes
born 1980 Lismore; lives and works in Melbourne/Naarm
The Poison Garden – Part 1: A Dark Spell Slowly Fading & Part 2: Whelm (excerpt) 2021
single channel HD video, stereo sound
22 mins

Collection of the artist

This work is part of an ongoing multimedia documentary project about a psychedelic botanical garden and the reclusive polymath couple who tend it. As the camera lingers on the garden and its bounty of medicinal and psychoactive plants, we hear the gardeners speaking with respect and deep knowledge about the historical uses, cultural significance and molecular composition of the plants they collect and imbibe.

Adele Wilkes draws upon theories of the ‘more-than-human’, a cross-disciplinary discourse that critiques the centrality of the human subject. Working from the increasingly urgent premise that human individualism and exceptionalism have led to environmental catastrophe, it proposes a more ethical, reciprocal approach to cross-species interrelationships.

The Poison Garden suggests a relationship between human and more-than-human that goes beyond caretaking – one in which plants are equal protagonists. It prompts the question, could the effects of plant-derived substances on human consciousness and sensory perception be considered a form of plant expression?

See the full work inside the exhibition Still Life

Buxton Contemporary acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the unceded land on which we work, learn and create, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Bunurong peoples, and the wider Kulin Nations. We acknowledge their continuing care for Country and recognise that Australia’s First Peoples art and cultural practices have thrived here for millenia.