On the Necessity of Gardening
An ABC of Art, Botany and Cultivation
- Not your everyday gardening book!
- Through the metaphor of gardening, this book offers insights on the convergence of nature and culture, ecology, climate, and care for the environment, with themes such as Arcadia, Control, Ecofascism, Guerilla Gardening, Queer Ecology
- Selected as one of the Best Dutch Book Designs 2021 and winner of the Golden Letter 2022!
Editor: Laurie Cluitmans
Contributors: Maria Barnas, Jonny Bruce, Laurie Cluitmans, Thiëmo Heilbron, Liesbeth M. Helmus, Erik A. de Jong, René de Kam, Alhena Katsof, Jamaica Kincaid, Bart Rutten, Catriona Sandilands, Patricia de Vries
Design: Bart de Baets
June 2021, Valiz in collaboration with Centraal Museum, Utrecht | supported by Creative Industries Fund NL, Stichting Jaap Harten Fonds, De Gijselaar-Hintzenfonds NL, dr. Hendrik Mullerfonds | Pb | 240 pp. | 32 x 24 cm (h x w) | English | ISBN 978-94-93246-00-3 | € 29,90
Laurie Cluitmans (b. 1984, NL) works as a curator of contemporary art for the Centraal Museum in Utrecht and is also an independent art critic. In 2016 she received the Prize for Young Art Criticism for her essay on the garden by Derek Jarman and Ian Hamilton Finlay.
On the Necessity of Gardening appears simultaneous with the exhibition The botanical revolution, on the necessity of art and gardening that will be on view from 11 September 2021 to 9 January 2022 in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht (NL). The publication is categorically not an exhibition catalogue, but is positioned as an autonomous project. Both the exhibition and publication stem from a longer-term research by Laurie Cluitmans into the development of the cultural-historical, philosophical and social significance of the garden in relation to our current way of life.
- Click here to read the review of On the Necessity of Gardening in Ark (no. 3/2022)
- (Only in Dutch) Click here to read the recommendation of On the Necessity of Gardening in HRLM (May 2022)
- (Only in Dutch) Click here to read the review of On the Necessity of Gardening in Onze Eigen Tuin (Winter 2021/2022)
- (Only in Italian) Click here to read the review of On the Necessity of Gardening on the website of frizzifrizzi (9 February 2022)
- On the Necessity of Gardening is included in the list The Best Coffee-Table Books to Gift This Season (1 December 2021)
- On the Necessity of Gardening is included in the list The Best Art Books to Buy as Holiday Gifts by Artnews (17 November 2021)
- Click here to listen to the podcast De botanische revolutie by Centraal Museum, Nest and Valiz (only in Dutch)
- Click here to read the piece about On the Necessity of Gardening on the website of étapes (19 October 2021)
-(Only in Dutch) Click here to listen to the interview with Laurie Cluitmans at OPIUM (20 September 2021)
- Click here to read an essay by Laurie Cluitmans in Pleasant Place (October 2022)
- On the Necessity of Gardening in Het Parool (October 2022)
For centuries, the garden has been regarded as a mirror of society, a microcosm, in which the broader relationships between nature and culture are played out on small scale. From this long cultural tradition also raises a call for a new awareness of our relationship with the Earth.
On the Necessity of Gardening tells the story of the garden as a rich source of inspiration. Over the centuries, artists, writers, poets and thinkers have each described, depicted and designed the garden in different ways. In medieval art, the garden was a reflection of paradise, a place of harmony and fertility, shielded from worldly problems.
However, the garden is not just a neutral place and intended solely for personal pastime, it is a place where the world manifests itself and where the relationship between culture and nature is expressed. In the eighteenth century this image shifted: the garden became a symbol of worldly power and politics. The Anthropocene, the era in which man completely dominates nature with disastrous consequences, is forcing us to radically rethink the role we have given nature in recent decades.
There is a renewed interest in the theme of the garden among contemporary makers. It is not a romantic desire that drives them, but rather a call for a new awareness of our relationship with the earth, by connecting different fields of activity in landscape, art and culture. Through many different essays and an extensive abecedarium, On the Necessity of Gardening reflects on the garden as a metaphor for society, through concepts such as botanomania and capitalocene, from guerrilla gardening to queer ecology and zen garden.