Monday, October 26, 2020
Flovers... exposed!

Flovers... exposed!By Director Ferruccio Gard

The flower paintings of American artist Georgia Totto O’Keeffe (1987-1986) are almost universally interpreted as containing sexual references. Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe too, to cite another famous example, investigated the relationship between flowers and sexuality. It’s not so surprising, after all: many flowers – the red calla, for instance – have been regarded as symbols of eroticism, sensuality and fertility since antiquity. What maybe more surprising is a book now on sale in the bookshop of London’s Tate Modern: Pornosynthesis, by British photographers Catherine Losing and Robert Graves-Morris, a visual journey into the sexuality of plants, giving up a close-up view of the reproductive parts of flowers. Get ready for some shockers, because many flowers put on quite a risqué, if not outright pornographic, show to attract pollinating insects. Flowers have their own Kamasutra. Who would have guessed? The book was published in support of a noble cause: all proceeds are being donated to The Bee Cause, a campaign to reverse bee decline in the UK. And well, among insects, bees are the most… courted by flowers. Especially worthy of mention are the beautiful bisexual Labiatae, the impudent hibiscus, and, of course, the orchid. The latter’s name is due to philosopher and botanist Theophrastus, who in 372 BC described the plant as having two orchis – in ancient Greek, ‘testicles’. At this point, a word of advice might be in order. In this time of political correctness in relationships between men and women, or rather, between genders, think twice before giving an orchid to someone you’re courting: they could dismiss you as rude and hit you with an umbrella. And no, don’t even think of buying them hibiscuses, the flowers that never need Viagra…