International Biennial of Contemporary Art Ljubljana,
23 June - 24 September 2000
News Archive
Micro Talks
Cankarjev Dom
M1 & M2
Simon J. Starling
  *1967, lives in Glasgow

Rescued Rhododendrons (Production Stills), 2000 Sonnenschein, Ljubljana 2000
Plečnik Union, 2000

Rescued Rhododendrons (Production Stills) consists of five colour photographs. The images document a journey made earlier this year from the north of Scotland to the southernmost tip of Spain. The journey inverted one made in 1763 by a Swedish botanist, Claes Alestroemer, who discovered Rhododendron Ponticum growing in the hills between Gibraltar and Cadiz. Alestroemer, a student of Linnaeus, was the first person to introduce this Rhododendron into cultivation in Britain. Since then the plant has become endemic in Scotland and is now considered a weed. The project began with a request to make a public work for a piece of protected heath land in Scotland. Discovering that a number of Ponticum plants, encroaching on this fragile "Scottish ecosystem", were to be destroyed, Starling set out in his red Swedish estate car to return these plants to their ancestors. Similarly concerned with geographical shifts, Sonnenschein, Ljubljana 2000 is one of an ongoing series of works already exhibited in Reykjavík and Malmö. The starting point for this work is a small man-made hill built by the pioneering aviator Otto Lilienthal in the 1890s. Lilienthal used the hill to launch his experimental gliders and died in a crash during one such flight in 1896. (A copy of one of Lilienthal's gliders hangs in Ljubljana's Brnik Airport.) Starling makes regular pilgrimages to this hill in Lichterfelde, Berlin, to harness solar power in a heavy battery. The battery is then transported by plane to various locations around the globe, creating a web of connections back to the notional birthplace of aviation. The power is then used, for as long as it lasts, to illuminate a lightbulb, a fleeting tribute to Lilienthal's legacy.

Address: Manifesta 3, Cankarjev Dom, Prešernova 10, SI - 1000 Ljubljana. Slovenia
phone: (+386 61) 1767143, 210956 fax: (+386 61) 217431 e-mail: