In Three Sisters Corridor Christian Philipp Müller explores the import of plants as an aspect of the appropriation of foreign culture and nature. His installation of vegetable plants and fruit trees of American origin was first created in 2006 for the monastery garden in Melk, where it has remained and been cultivated. For this exhibition, it will be restaged in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier.
Plants that are now seen to be at home in Europe, such as the potato, the melon, maize, runner beans, the pumpkin, tobacco, paprika, courgette, and tomatoes were once the basic means of subsistence for the indigenous population of what was called the “new world.” The European invaders first thought that some of these vegetables were decorative or poisonous plants, before they realized that they could be cultivated and eaten. The European mistrust, deprecation, and misuse of these plants is also a reflection of the invaders’ corresponding perception, evaluation, and treatment of indigenous peoples.
In Three Sisters Corridor Müller assumes the role of a researcher and historian whose universalist approach to social, cultural, and art history makes the embodiment of history in the form of contemporary art possible. His work raises awareness of processes of internalization, forgetting, and misunderstanding. Müller’s work shows us that we are literally consuming foreign culture when we eat these fruits. Harvesting, cooking and eating the fruits in Müller’s installation is an aspect of the work that links historical insight and memory directly to sensual and physical experience.