Interview with Rossella Biscotti at the NTU CCA

In the winter of 2020 Rossella Biscotti had a residency at NTU CCA in Singapore. During this residency some textile works were shown at NTU CCA which were earlier produced for a solo show at Witte de With in Rotterdam in the fall of 2019. In a recent interview she tells more about these recently produced works and also about her research for new work at some oil palm plantations in Malaysia.

Among the textiles in Biscotti’s exhibition at NTU CCA in Singapore, two breeds of flowers from Indonesia are pictured: amorphophallus titanium and rafflesia. Both species are commonly referred to as corpse flowers. Their inflorescence’s reddish color and texture likened to human flesh. Their scent, to a body in decay. Their foul odor attracts insects such as flies, which transports pollen from male to female flowers. In some species the flower maybe over 100 centimeter in diameter, and weigh up to 10 kilograms. The artist’s rendering of the flowers is an intimation of their popularity such as in fabric design, which augmented after being imported to Europe.With this particular work, Biscotti shows an image of the latter breed, the rafflesia. As the official state flower of Indonesia , it is there known as puspa langka (‘rare flower’), or as padma paksasa (‘giant flower’) of Sabah state in Malaysia and of Surat Thani Province in Thailand.

Drawing inspiration from imagery in the annals of the Buitenzorg Botanical Garden (volume XXXII, 1923), the body of this rare flower is here shown dismembered. Biscotti addresses this scientific study as a seminal image that went on to alter the system of botanics and agriculture in the years that followed.

For Biscotti, rubber has a resemblance to skin and she likens the working of skin to the uses of textiles as in to cover and wrap. The resistance and even saggy property of rubber is also of particular interest to the artist. She has thus created rubber ropes which she uses as a kind of lath in this work, as well as in the other silkscreened prints in this exhibition.

captions:

Rossella Biscotti
Dismembered Rafflesia, 2019 and Seeds, 2019
silkscreen on cotton, rubber

source: wall text at “Rossella Biscotti; new work”, Witte de With, 2019