Bane (2020) features parasitic and pathogenic designations - be they fungal, bacterial, viral or pestilence - punched onto copper plant tags and attached with copper wire to plants throughout the three historic gardens of Hestercombe – Landscape, Victorian and Edwardian gardens, as well as in the shrubbery and orchard. Each pathogen or pest name is attached to the particular genus that it attacks, although Phytophthora - or root rot - destroys a wide range of plants.
The pathogens and pests were chosen through conversations with Claire Greenslade, Hestercombe’s Head Gardener, about the challenges she and her team face in managing plant disease using only biological controls (where possible). Claire emphasised that many of the early cultivars at Hestercombe are very susceptible to commonly found plant disease, as well as the more recently arrived harmful organisms such as Hymenoscyphus fraxineus – Ash Die Back.
Copper’s significance in Bane lies in its antimicrobial properties. Copper infused fabrics for face masks are widely in use, and copper alloys are being tested in medical settings to reduce infections such as MRSA.
For more information on bio-security measures, see the: International Plant Protection Convention
(IPPC) which aims to reduce the spread of plant pests and diseases and protect biodiversity and the environment. Broadly it is a plant health treaty signed by 180 countries. Bio-security also relates to human contexts, such as in the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Bane was conceived for Open-Up - a series of outdoor sited works commissioned by Tim Martin, Art Director of Hestercombe Gallery in the summer of 2020, that reflect on 'these unprecedented times as we emerge from lockdown'. The plant tags will remain in situ throughout the rest of 2020, with the surfaces changing though a slow process of patination.
Richard Long’s Jackdaw Line was installed in July, and other artists featured in Open-Up with Sarah Bennett are Megan Calver with Gabriella Hoad, Jon England, Jo Lathwood, Philippa Lawrence and Lucy Soni.