[Reading Group] The Greenhouse Effect, Ralph Rugoff

What I learnt from this essay is the fiction narrate and invention of nature. It talks about “nature” is a cultural invention, it confused us between nature and artifice. This strengthen my knowledge with the stand of Susan Stewart’s invention of narrative and Mark Dion’s invention of nature. The most interesting part is that in the end of the reading group, our tutor Geraint pointed out the story of the person the author spent an amount of paragraph to talked about, the architect and geographer Frank Stainbridge might be a make up person. It could be a funny and sarcastic way to co-operate with his theme of invention. This reminds me of a Hong Kong writer (post about the writer) who like to explore the invention and authenticity of writing.



….surrounding Norfolk landscape seem inauthentic

….several works that employed living organisms, including plants and birds.


…as if their display inside galleries had transformed them into creations of artifice, rather than nature.

..its window framed the surrounding landscape as though it, too, were yet another work of art, a still life that only appeared to stand still.



Yet Turnbull conclued that none of the feature artists had anything especially new to say on the subject…approached it as a dictionary of popular imagery.

Rodney Graham, welsh Oaks, 1998

Turnbull discussed,

…mocks the assumed “naturalness” of the photographic image….by inviting us to confuse high and low, to mistake branches for roots, it compellingly transforms a cliche of landscape art into an idiosyncratic and profoundly intricate marvel, at once majestic and strange.


Stainbridge inisisted,

“By commingling products of human labour and cultivated specimens, [Stainbridge] went beyond the truism that “nature” is a cultural invention.His two greenhouses demonstrate a more profound insight: that our whole idea of “culture” is itself a fiction that depends on our first bracketing off a transcendent entity we call Nature, an inviolate order separate from all human industry…

P. 37

..real and unreal, the superficial and the deeply felt, the authentic and inauthentic.

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