Ruth van Beek – The Arrangement

Artist: Ruth van Beek
Title: The Arrangement
Publisher: RVB Books
Year: 2013

Plants and flowers are at once stubbornly resistant and infinitely pliable – bending to our wills and desires. Both dependent on and seduced by plants, we’ve shaped and been similarly transformed by their myriad offerings. We like to think we are in control, but in the end the plants may have the last laugh.

Ruth van Beek’s new book, The Arrangement, continues her smart and disarmingly humorous work with collages into the world of flowers and houseplants. Like her previous book, The Hibernators (RVB Books, 2011), which turned Guinea pigs, rabbits and other household pets into origami puzzles of confounding cuteness, her new book folds, moulds and reshapes plants to inventive new ends. Collected from flower arrangement manuals from the 50s to 70s, the collaged images incorporate colour blocks and shapes while also applying van Beek’s own interpretation of Ikebana, or Japanese flower arrangement. Teasing apart issues of horticulture and domestication, The Arrangement shows our dance with plants continues to produce results that are both startlingly beautiful and humorously alive.