In the Garden Grows A Lump

Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Year: 2014
Status: Complete

“In the Garden Grows a Lump” is an exhibition of rare illustrated books on the traditional English notion of the picturesque, installed within a contemporary interpretation of an English picturesque garden, at the University of Michigan Taubman College Gallery.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the advent of the “Picturesque Garden,” or frequently the “English Garden,” generated an explosion of popular and scholarly manuscripts, as designers invented an alternative to the strict geometric rationalism that had formed the basis of garden organizations since the Classical era. The Picturesque Garden employed looser, meandering schemes that applied the aesthetics and techniques of painting to the design of space. New and novel artifacts, such as strategically misshapen landforms, or lumps, were part of the new organizational logic of the picturesque.

For the installation, the gallery is filled with a group of three lumps, each of which starts flat on the floor and then rises to a hump in order to create an ambiguous reading between lumpy carpet and natural landform. The manuscripts are grouped in four clusters as material on top of the lumps, with each cluster on a table corresponding to a particular class of picturesque objects. The tables themselves are designed to rest on irregularly sloped surfaces.

Project Lead: James Chesnut

Project Team: Cody Glen, Noel Hernandez, Dan Marty, Nick Safely