Saturday, August 15, 2009

Handbuch der Wildwachsenden Großstadtpflanzen by Helmut Volter



Staying in the realm of plant life for another few moments I want to mention a great book from a graduate of the Institute for Book Arts in Leipzig, Handbuch der Wildwachsenden Großstadtpflanzen (A Handbook of Wild Plants in our Cities) by Helmut Volter.

This was a thesis work of design and book craft which takes its starting point as a field guide to wild plants in German cities. Part science and nature and part intoxicating design, Volker presents a herbarium of specimens which fight to grow between cracks in concrete and modern architecture. In a wider field of view, these plants seem no more than untamed weeds but upon close inspection they have the natural art of form that Blossfeldt celebrated in his own studies.

Volter taped his unmanicured specimen clippings down with all of their imperfections in entangled roots and insect chewed leaves and photographed them against a plain white background. Bisecting half-pages of light-weight paper give brief descriptions of each plant species. The book is divided into various spaces where different plant life can be found including; backyards, sport fields, ports and canals, on building rooftops, in rail yards and literally sprouting on the streets and sidewalks.

Unfortunately for me all of the texts are in German so the finer points of description and perhaps deeper examination are beyond my grasp. Still, Handbuch der wildwachsenden Großstadtpflanzen is a visual feast which can stand on its own and apart from the texts.

3 comments:

sebastian said...

shiit this looks nice.

Anonymous said...

amazing. any idea where i could purchase a copy of this book?

jeff ladd said...

I couldn't link to anywhere that has it any longer. I found it too late to order through the Institute for Book arts in leipzig. I wound up trading a book with Helmut, the artist for a copy.