Urpflanze: Goethe’s Archetypal Plant

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These are seed packets that I made as part of an ongoing book arts project in which I am exploring Goethe’s concept of the archetypal or ideal plant. I consider the wild mustard plant to be the ideal plant, because although it is oft considered a weed, it is the genetic ‘parent’ of selectively bred garden members of the Brassica family, such as cabbage, kale, wasabi, watercress, kale, radishes, and so on. I illustrated 15 different manifestations of the wild mustard relatives as they relate to the one comprehensive, imagined ‘ideal’ Brassica, my Urpflanze.

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