Taryn Simon, Paperwork and the Will of Capital


Memorandum of Understanding between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of Australia Relating to the Settlement of Refugees in Cambodia. Ministry of Interior, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 26, 2014


Debuted at the 56th Biennale di Venezia in 2015 and entirely shown for the first time at Gagosian Gallery in New York in Spring 2016, Taryn Simon’s latest project Paperwork and the Will of Capital was recently published by Hatje Cantz. Simon’s work was inspired by George Sinclair’s horticultural studies and experiments of the nineteenth century, which had a great influence on Charles Darwin’s theory, and by the flower compositions appearing in a series of archive pictures depicting political events, collected by the artist.

These events refer to important accords, treaties and decrees involving themes such as nuclear armament, oil deals and diamond trading. While depicting the signing of crucial documents, these images see the recurrent presence of the so-called impossible bouquet: an arrangement of flowers coming from different parts of the world or blooming at different times of the year, made possible by the globalization of the modern flower industry.
In search of her own impossible bouquet, the artist worked with a botanist and imported more than 4,000 flowers and plant specimens from Aalsmeer (Netherlands) – the world’s largest flower auction –, reconstructed the arrangements represented in the archive images and photographed them on colorful backgrounds, shaping a multilayered botanic manual.
After a number of groundbreaking monographs such as An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), Contraband (2010), A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters (2011) and Birds of the West Indies (2013-14), with this book Taryn Simon adds an essential tile to her longtime investigation on the aesthetics of power.
Taryn Simon, Paperwork and the Will of Capital
198 pp., € 78.00  
Hatje Cantz

Nuclear fuel agreement. Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, Bushehr, Iran, February 27, 2005

Agreement on Non-Aggression and Good Neighbourliness between the Government of the People’s Republic of Mozambique and the Government of the Republic of South Africa. Komatipoort, South Africa, March 16, 1984


Kate Fowle, “Survivial of the Fittest”