Save the Seeds
Lucia Ghegu’s series of works Save the Seeds expands her research on modular architectural structures – solariums or greenhouses – where plants are grown and protected. Following an intervention in her grandmother’s solarium (SOLAR/I was looking for you to find myself, 2017-18), the artist articulates a personal narrative based on the surrounding context of this solarium, which was built with simple materials on an urban plot of land her family recovered when the town of Zimnicea was almost entirely torn down after the 1977 earthquake. Similar to the ways in which the artist’s grandmother used the lot – empty after the demolitions – to grow plants, small plots nestled between the newly built blocks of flats were also turned into modest gardens. Save the Seeds consists of three-dimensional assemblages that bring together geometric drawings of fictional hybrid solariums made on polyethylene foil (commonly used for this type of construction), photo collages of images from the grandmother’s solarium which the artist printed using thermal transfer on anti-insect nets, and, in some cases, repurposed wood frames from old greenhouses. The graphic and photographic layers, together with the density of the materials and images used by the artist, form complex visual landscapes enclosing and opening up at the same time the inherent potential of these human-made constructions in relation to the organic world. In the context of overproduction and soil depletion due to monocultures and industrialization, the idea of solarium at a micro level, insular or personal, can be seen as an alternative, resilient model. Lucia Ghegu makes use of hybridization and fiction to (re)compose this architectural structure, opening up a conversation about sustainable micro-systems of cultivation that offer plants conditions to thrive and shelter from the harmful effects of climate change.