Garden Ornaments, Dörentrup, Germany

Location: Dörentrup, Germany
Client: Bielefeld Art Museum
Size: 2 hectares
Status: Completed 2001

Our gardens have become increasingly important in our everyday lives. The reason for this may be our increasing need for an escape from our information society. This is true for the United States as well as Germany, two places where I have been working and spending time. The importance of our gardening activities is made evident through the fact that in the USA gardening is a billion–dollar industry and gardening our #1 hobby.

In addition to being a beloved pastime, and nurturing to our environment, gardening is, in fact, a vehicle of expression through which we broadcast our individual message or image to the world. It is the window through which the world sees us. To this end, our gardens are a highly manipulated piece of nature in which the choice of ornaments placed in the garden simultaneously reflects the home–owner’s individual character, and, a collective national character.

Garden Ornaments at Schloss Dörentrup displays the ornaments that Americans and Germans often choose to place in their gardens. The ornaments have been purchased at garden store chains who sell these objects in high volume, and as a result, we have selected ornaments are most common. Because of their ubiquity, these ornaments reflect who we are and how we would like to be seen. They come to characterize a larger collective landscape, as we see them often in people’s yards. They represent areas of cultural similarity as well as difference.