Virtual Tour of the Exhibition at Yassi foundation:

https://myvision.art/360/Yassi/

Flora Iranica

“From the foothills of the Alborz
to the peaks of the Alps”

 

A project by Farshido Larimian


Participating artists:
David Eisl, Hannah Stippl, Regina Anzenberger, Karin Maria Pfeifer, Marianne Lang, Michaela Putz, Karin Pliem, Christina Gruber, Yvonne Oswald, and Christopher Wittine

 

Project Manager: Nima Shokraei

In cooperation with Austrian Cultural Forum (ÖKF) Tehran,
Natural History Museum Vienna (NHM), and Aichberg Castle Austria
Scientific collaborators: Dr. Ernst Vitek and Dr. Jalil Noroozi

An exhibition at the Yassi Foundation Tehran (Iran) juxtaposes contemporary artistic positions from Austria with an important botanical collection at the Natural History Museum Vienna (NHM). The focus of the FLORA IRANICA exhibition is the historical collection of herbaria that the Austrian botanist Theodor Kotschy collected in Persia and Afghanistan in the 19th century. Curator Farshido Larimian expands this look into the past with artistic works by David Eisl, Hannah Stippl, Regina Anzenberger, Karin Maria Pfeifer, Marianne Lang, Michaela Putz, Karin Karin Pliem, Christina Gruber, Yvonne Oswald, and Christopher Wittine. They all move in the subject areas of nature, plants, ecology and sustainability. In addition to works of photography, painting, installation and video, there is a selection of artist books. Discussion panels will complete the program. After the end of the exhibition in Tehran, it will be shown finally in Vienna.

With the Flora Iranica, the Natural History Museum Vienna (NHM) houses the most important international botanical collection of Iranian plants from the Flora Iranica area (Persia and Afghanistan). Almost 180 years ago, the Austrian botanist Theodor Kotschy climbed Mount Damavand, near Tehran. He brought back a rich collection of plants from his research trips to the Iranian highlands. He sent more than 10,000 botanical preparations to Vienna and thus created the basis for the most important collection of Iranian plants in the NHM Vienna, which today comprises 60,000 objects.

The exhibition FLORIA IRANICA (from the foothills of the Alborz to the peaks of the Alps) is inspired by this history of collecting and archiving, but also of international transfer. Curated by the Iranian-Austrian artist, archivist and curator Farshido Larimian, these historical documents are the focus of the exhibition. In addition to pictures from the NHM’s herbarium collection, most of which were collected by Theodor Kotschy, there are parts of the herbarium collection at Aichberg Castle in Austria, including 14 original panels from 1837. The curator’s private collection also has 30 watercolors of botanical content from the 19th century. Running for three weeks, the FLORA IRANICA exhibition aims to move visitors to the atmosphere of the time when Theodor Kotschy and Karl H. Rechinger discovered and collected plants in nature.

”We would be happy if the scientifically and culturally important herbarium material that we “hoarded” in Iran would also be visible to non-specialists,” says the head of the Botanical Department, Dr. Christian Bräuchler, about the cooperation of the NHM Vienna with this project.

With the support and cooperation of the Austrian Embassy and the Cultural Forum (ÖKF) Tehran, curator Farshido supplements this look into the past with contemporary positions. Yassi Foundation, Tehran presents works by the artists David Eisl, Hannah Stippl, Regina Anzenberger, Karin Maria Pfeifer, Marianne Lang, Michaela Putz, Karin Pliem, Christina Gruber, Yvonne Oswald, and Christopher Wittine. They all share a great interest in nature and plants, sustainability and ecology in their artistic practice. The exhibition includes a carefully curated selection of photographs, paintings, installations, video works, artist books and research based on numerous studio visits. The rich program is complemented by videos from the studios, performances and three workshops by artists present at the exhibition.
In addition to and with works of contemporary art, selected artefacts from older European cultural history are shown in this exhibition, which document both the scientific examination of nature and the tradition of depicting natural motifs in the design of everyday objects. The 14 specimens from the late 19th century shown in this exhibition were used as teaching aids in natural history lessons at a school that was once housed in Aichberg Castle.

The International Symposium „Flora Iranica” was held at the occasion of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (2022) and in memory of Austrian Botaniat, Theodor Kotschy (1813-1866), an Austrian botanist, on May 12-13 at Kharazmi University in collaboration with the Austrian, German and Swiss Embassies. Prominent scientists and botanists from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Iran and India discussed the topics of botanical history, botanical science, herbal medicine, climate change and its impact on the planet, and sustainable development. From Austria, Dr. Christian Bräuchler, from the Austrian Museum of Natural History and Dr. Jalil Norouzi, University of Vienna, as well as Dr. Ernst Vitek, participated online and on-site; from Germany Dr. Parissa Keshavarzi from the University of Heinrich Heine in Düsseldorf; from Switzerland Dr. Laurent Gauthier from University of Geneva and Ms. Tahereh Maleki from the University of Zurich. The opening ceremony was celebrated inter alia with speeches by Dr. Habibi, President of Kharazmi University, and Wolf-Dietrich Heim, Ambassador of Austria, on May 12, at the 17 Shahrivar Hall of Kharazmi University.