© Ghada Amer - All rights reseved

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 Gardens 

Happily Ever After

 

Queens Museum of Art, 2005

Queens, New York, USA

 

The Happily Ever After garden consists of the familiar phrase that ends fairy tales: “happily ever after.” The words are spelled out using climbing roses and jasmine supported by metal armatures roughly five feet high.  The letters form a circular enclosure that surrounds a round wooden bench built for couples. The words can be read while sitting on the bench.

S'il pleuvait des larmes

 

Certosa Di Padula,2003

Padula,Italy

 

For this garden installation, Amer frescoed the entire Boris Vian poem “S’il pleuvait des larmes” (“If it rained tears”) on the existing structure of an abandoned garden located inside a monastery.  The poem speaks about war and destruction.

Love Grave

 

Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2003

Indianapolis, Indiana USA

 

 

Love Grave was created by digging the letters of the word “LOVE” in capital letters six feet into the ground and by leaving mounds of dug-up earth around the letters.  The dichotomy inherent in spelling the word “love” by means of a symbol of death calls attention to the connections between Eros and Thanatos, between plenitude and emptiness. It also alludes to the inevitable ending of love stories.

Peace Garden

 

Miami Botanical Garden, 2002

Miami, Florida USA

 

 

Peace Garden consists of the universal peace symbol, first designed as a symbol for the Ban the Bomb movement in the 1950s, made of carnivorous plants.  The garden is also part of a performance in which attendants serve live worms and crickets to visitors who in turn feed them to the plants.  The use of carnivorous plants to construct a peace sign represents the shift in attitude of an earlier generation that once strongly promoted and used the peace symbol but then, over time, came to take causes for peace much less seriously.

Women’s Qualities

 

Metropolitan Museum of Pusan, 2000

Pusan, South Korea

 

Women’s Qualities consists of floral inscriptions in eight flowerbeds on the grounds of the Metropolitan Museum of Pusan.  Amer asked people passing by the museum what qualities they would attribute to women.  Words like “docile,” “sweet,” “long-lashed,” and “virgin” were a few of the most common adjectives used to describe “women’s qualities.”  These answers were then spelled out in Korean using a special local flower that is characterized by its deep red blossoms and blooms only once a year for two months.

Love Park

 

SITE Santa Fe Biennial, 1999

Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

 

Love Park is a romantic pathway that Amer originally installed in an abandoned garden space where homeless were known to sleep in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Amer placed around the former park ten benches split into halves that each faced a different direction, unlike the typical love seat designed for partners sitting side by side.  Each of the sitters on Amer’s benches looked in opposite directions and were confronted by a quotation concerning love on a sign facing them.  The quotations are contradictory and create a confusing conversation about the meaning of love.  Each bench serves as an example of the inherent lack of communication and distance between couples.

Love Park, 1999, SITE Santa Fe Third International Biennial