LIU YU



The Loves of the Plants written by naturalist and poet, Erasmus Darwin, in the 18 th century is a set of nature observation poetry based on a proposal made by Carl Linnaeus at the time, which classified plants based on their sexual characteristics. In the early stage of this plant taxonomy system, it was quite controversial to compare plant organs to human sex organs. However, this anthropomorphic way of imagining plants has become the foundation of today’s plant taxonomy. Through intricate biology observations, The Loves of the Plants presented the characteristics, senses, and desires of plants using anthropomorphic expressions, and female subjectivity was emphasized. The artwork, Ladies, presents a script adapted from three poems/three plants(Mimosa, Arum, and Cuscuta) written by Darwin and explores how humans perceived nature when this particular knowledge system was initially established. The content of this exploration is not intended as response to the age-old question of anthropocentrism; rather, emphasis is placed on tracing the driving force behind humans’ initial perception of the world. In the process of “seeing/perceiving/understanding”, human beings also carry out some kind of inner perceptual production, with imagination thereby evoked. The artists have pondered on the converging point of this driving force and the production of art, and they seek to use the three themes of senses, shapes, and narratives to construct Darwin’s imagination of plants. “Anthropomorphism” is based on an awareness that exploit all things, but it is also a biological instinct that empathizes with all things.