Carbon Orchid

Carbon black orchid, an applied and artistic object. Dark face of smiling beauty. The shelf for solitary container, creeping demonic flower, elegant disturbing work.

This piece, being on the verge between art and design, can be best described by a fin-de-siecle Prague-based writer Gustav Meyrink: “From a dark tangle of lush leaves arose a giant sneaking orchid. The face of a demon with thirsty lips, chinless, merely a shining pair of eyes and bluish maw. And this horrid vegetable face trembled on its shank, dangling as if it was laughing, staring at Mercedes´s hands. My heart stopped as my soul stared into the abyss. Do you believe that orchids have thoughts? At that very moment I did.” Gustav Meyring – Bologna Tears (short story)

I appreciate orchids for their bizarre flowers, which resemble different types of birds, insects, or even figures. Orchids imitate the morphology of insects to attract suitable pollinators and repel the unsuitable ones. However, humans see faces and figures in them due to a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia. Our brains fill in the information of indistinct visual stimuli into meaningful images based on our phantasy and experience. I have chosen a specific type of black orchids known as FREDCLARKEARIA – Black Angel, specially bred by Fred Clarke in the USA in 2010.  As of now, this orchid is the darkest there is. The color black doesn‘t otherwise appear in the natural world – where black is always present as the darkest shades of purple or red. This specially bred hybrid has a portrait of a laughing demon in the middle of its flowers, which evokes a feeling in me of this demon ridiculing our attempts at controlling nature.

I have created a character portrait of this orchid influenced by the way I perceive it. I personify every orchid and assign them human characteristics such as naivety,  tenderness, or arrogance. I have done the same with the Fredclarkeaira, which I perceive as wicked, confident, elegant, and mysterious – I have tried to express this through the selected material and its fabrication.

The flower petals of this orchid are from carbon fiber. I find it a luxurious and elegant material, dark or possibly hellish – made from carbon and with a snakeskin texture. The portrait itself is handmade and shaped hot at a glass workshop. As a whole, I wanted to create an object with an unspecific function, perceived as dark, strange, or perhaps demonic, but at the same time grotesque. Black Angel serves as a solitaire shelf for one selected vessel.

There are only 8 pieces.

7 black, 1 white

Photo: Anna Pleslova

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