(F)airtrade originated from research into the origin, symbolism, the appropriation in history, the economic value and the production of flowers. This work mainly focuses on the production and especially on the import and export of cut flowers.

 

The colours of the liquids derive from an extracting process for which cut flowers are immersed in pure alcohol. The glass tubes are bent into shapes based on the routes (import/export routes) that flowers are subjected to.

 

When the F of the title (F)airtrade is removed the word airtrade remains which refers to ‘windhandel’, a speculative trade that was practiced during the Dutch Golden Age when contract prices for bulbs of tulips reached extraordinarily high levels, and then dramatically collapsed (also known as Tulip Mania). It refers to the value we attach to products and how these are tied to a specific place and time.

 

In addition, the title refers to the fair trade that is aimed for within the flower industry, but which is often not achieved. In Kenya, for example the cultivation of mainly red roses involves exploitation of workers, pollution of the environment through the use of chemicals and shortage of drinking water for the local population. This exploitation of workers and the environment is probably the opposite of the message one wants to convey when giving a bouquet of red roses to a loved one. 

(F)airtrade, alcohol, glass, variable dimensions, 2021

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