The Queen of the Night, 2009/2018
Performance with costume/sculpture (plastic foam, wood, toothpicks, paper, rubber foam, food wrapping, wire, spray paint, nylon thread, lacquer) vanilla air freshener, coffee/drinks
The Queen of the Night stages the nocturnal bloom of the Selenicereus grandiflorus cactus. People are invited for coffee and drinks when they arrive. The performance starts late and lasts only a couple of minutes. Afterwards the flower rests withered on the floor next to the thorny plant.
The cactus was formerly common as a house plant in Sweden. It flowers rarely. Each bud opens late in the evening and booms only for one night. The blooming comes with a strong fragrance reminiscent of orange-blossoms or vanilla. It was custom for someone with a bursting queen bud to invite neighbors and friends over for a nocturnal rendezvous and experience the spectacular bloom together. This tradition has been known in Sweden since the latter half of the 19th century. The plant is considered ugly when not in bloom and is not very common today.
Exhibition view: Soon Enough – Art in Action, Tensta konsthall, 2018.
Photo credit: Jean Baptiste Beranger