Elspeth Diederix

Flowerfields, 2019

In her practice, artist Elspeth Diederix focuses on the beauty of nature and everyday ‘things’. Her photos shake us out of our worn and conditioned ways of perceiving and expose another appearance of the world: sublime, full of surprises, poetry and beauty. Each photograph is staged with almost mathematic precision, based on comprehensive research in the form of sketches, maquettes and test shoots. Her works are made without any digital manipulation.

Flowerfields flows out of a commission from Amsterdam UMC to photograph plants that are related to medicine. Together with hospital pharmacist Reinier van Hest, Diederix selected a number of plants that have chemical compounds used in modern medicine:

• Lily of the valley (cardiac glycoside)
• Foxglove (digoxin) Milk thistle (silibinin)
• Snowdrop (galantamine)
• Poppy (base for opioids)
• Belladonna (atropine)
• Automn crocus (colchicine)
• Spanish chili pepper (capsaicin)

The photographs and the stories of these plants are presented on a related website and in the waiting rooms of various Amsterdam UMC wards. The photographed flowers are directly connected to the various wards (for instance Lily of the valley for heart diseases). For Life of Plants Diederix has created a new image in which the eight plants come together in one horizontal landscape. Flowerfields addresses not only how medical ingredients in plants have led to life-saving treatments, but also highlights how their beauty provides solace in testing times.