Marie-France & Patricia Martin
... Unseen by the gardener   2004
Video, in collaboration with Jonathan Sullam and Cedric Van Caeter
music : Javier Alvarez, photography : Thierry Bal
... Unseen by the gardener  

Marie-France & Patricia Martin’s video piece for the summer exhibition Tempered Ground at the Museum of Garden History is informed by a sense of history, but for them this initially sprang from the personal, from thoughts of their maternal grandfather who was a head gardener in a small town in Switzerland. The artists saw a reflection of both their grandfather and themselves in Alistair Cook, the head gardener at Lambeth Palace, seeing their artistic practice reflected in his approach to the garden.

The initial collaboration proposed by the Martins was rejected by Lambeth Palace and this too became central to their piece for Tempered Ground, signifying a sense of being ‘cast out’ from the garden. The final work begins with the identical twins as pseudo-nuns in Mediaeval times and follows them as they climb the tower at the Museum of Garden History. As they ascend, time moves forward and they pass a window looking into the exclusive garden, before travelling up and further through history to the present day, looking out over views of contemporary London. Referencing both cinematic works such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Jacques Tati’s Playtime, as well as 15th century religious painting, the artists take the viewer on both a historical and personal journey.