- audio, orchid, print
“ramum tenerum infra praecidito”
“Every word immediately becomes a concept, inasmuch as it is not intended to serve as a reminder of the unique and wholly individualised original experience to which it owes its birth, but must at the same time fit innumerable, more or less similar cases—which means, strictly speaking, never equal—in other words, a lot of unequal cases. Every concept originates through our equating what is unequal.“ (Frederich Nietzsche, On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense)
"Tenderness", according to various dictionaries, refers to the fragility of an object, but also to a feeling or manifestation of affection, sweetness, kindness or compassion towards an often loved object. Tender means recent, recently born, delicate, weak and rare, pale and soft, and in Armenian (t'arm) it also means fresh and green. But the concept of tenderness may be very subjective. This word, like all the others, can contain many different definitions, even contradictory ones. It has two natures: delicacy, sensitivity and sweetness, but also jealousy, envy and power play. Tenderness can be hidden under many layers of rocks, under hard soil, under stony ground, and rather arduous terrain.
The orchid is a fascinating plant for its origins and for its beautiful inflorescence. Its name is said to derive from Orchis, a handsome and fiery boy who was the son of a nymph and a satyr. During a party in honour of the god Bacchus, Orchis tried to rape a priestess, and for this behaviour he was punished by being fed to wild beasts. The gods of Olympus then decided to intervene and made sure that from the few mortal remains of the young man a delicate but wonderful plant would be born. Its underground section developed an apparatus that resembles the male anatomical one - the orchis, the testicle.
The project is an installation, consisting of an orchid, accompanied by a sound. The sound has the word “tenderness” written along with musical instruments (trombones, oboe, violins, flutes and percussion) in the professional recording studio for music production. The piece has a bit of a false intonation, and is more cadenced, slightly disharmonious, which highlights the ambiguity of Tenderness as well as the ambiguity of Orchid's name's origins: power play, rape, misery, beauty and ugliness.
But the project is not simply an installation. The orchid is a very fragile and sensitive plant, which needs a lot of attention from people who voluntarily devote their time and commitment to taking care of it, the needs of which are not always met. Gallery employees must maintain and contribute to the installation, and the orchid’s existence depends on their availability and willingness to participate in this artwork.