Dianthus caryophyllus conatus, 2016

Hong Kong 2017
Blindspot Gallery
Work on Paper
Ink on drafting film
120.0 x 75.0 (cm)
47.2 x 29.5 (inch)
The subject matter of anatomical drawing contains a clear allusion to Leonardo’s notebooks, and illustrated anatomy books by naturalists like Vesalius and Linnaeus. The presence of illegible texts on the second layer behind the first translucent drafting film suggests that the drawings convey some kind of authoritative truth. Dianthus caryophyllus is the scientific name of carnation, and conatus means double in Latin. The double flower is an abnormal phenomenon, a mutation, in which the stamens, its reproductive organ, become petals and emerges as a double. In his book Studies on Hysteria, Austrian physician Joseph Breuer painted a botanical, sexual, and aesthetic image of female hysterics, as “the flowers of mankind, as sterile, no doubt, but as beautiful as double flowers.”1 Just as the abnormality and the outsider, their subversiveness and resistance are manifested clearly, as women who are “diagnosed” with hysteria are often the ones who refuse patriarchal values and gender roles.