Vegetal Matrix, Patricia Domínguez, 2021; Rooted Beings, Wellcome Collection / Steven Pocock, 2022. CC-BY-NC.

A new installation by artist Patricia Domínguez, co-commissioned by Delfina Foundation, is now on view as part of the group show, Rooted Beings at Wellcome Collection, London.

Running from 24 March – 29 August 2022, Rooted Beings invites visitors to embark on a meditative reflection on the world of plants and fungi. The exhibition considers what might be learned from plant behaviour, and the impacts of colonial expeditions on the exploitation of natural resources and indigenous knowledges.

Patricia Domínguez was selected in 2019 for a 12-week residency at Delfina Foundation, in partnership with Wellcome Collection, during which the artist was to be invited to engage with material from the institution and Kew Gardens’ botanical collections and archives related to Latin America, working closely with the curators to intervene in the narrative and development of an exhibition to take place at Wellcome Collection in 2020 and La Casa Encendida, Madrid, in 2021. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the planned residency was unable to go ahead in 2020 and instead Patricia worked remotely with staff at Wellcome Collection and La Casa Encendida to research the collections and produce a work remotely, with support from the Delfina Foundation team. Patricia’s residency at Delfina Foundation was finally able to go ahead from 14 March – 2 April 2022 around the installation of the exhibition at Wellcome collection and its related programme of events.

The installation Patricia developed out of her research for the exhibition is comprised of a series of futuristic totems. Titled Vegetal Matrix (2021), material related to four particular specimens (brugmansia, Banisteriopsis carpi, cinchona and mandrake) are presented across dedicated totems, with a fifth central totem honouring Pre-Columbian symbolic, spiritual knowledge and vision.

“I started from the scientific point of view by studying botanical gardens and natural science illustrations, and slowly opened my perception to a more energetic relationship to plants. I am in the process of understanding how powerful they are, their non-verbal and chemical communication with us. Plant permeate our cells, ourselves, we are living through plants.”

The exhibition also includes botanical archives from Wellcome Collection and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and other works by artists Gözde İlkin, Ingela Ihrman and Joseca, and other new commissions by Eduardo Navarro, RESOLVE Collective and Sop.

The exhibition is curated by Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz with Emily Sargent. Rooted Beings is a collaboration between Wellcome Collection and La Casa Encendida, Madrid. Commission partners: Delfina Foundation, De La Warr Pavilion, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation.