Oxidized busts and well-worn sculptures fill the parks and public squares of cities around the world, yet these examples of public art are often overlooked. To draw attention to historical monuments all over Belgium, florist Geoffroy Mottart stages herbaceous interventions by adding botanical beards and verdant hairdos to statues of luminaries and potentates like Victor Rousseau and King Leopold II. This clash between history and brightly-colored floral facial hair lends the otherwise-somber effigies an air of tender whimsy.
Mottart chooses the flowers for each sculpture with care, taking into account his subject’s features, the statue’s color and material, its location, and the season. The Fleurissements are a momentary augmentation, and Mottart removes them after a day or two, before the blooms begin to wither and die. “My creations are not meant to last in time,” he tells The Creators Project. “If I let the flowers [die], the message would be different. My goal is to put forward the statues.”
Though he’s somewhat of a guerrilla florist, Mottart says the feedback from the Belgian government has been positive. “Contact with cities like Brussels is rather favorable. On the other hand, I would like to have more access to other statues, like the ones that are in the courthouse, because they are magnificent. But communication is more complicated, because like everywhere, it is difficult to have access to the responsible person.”
Making perishable art has its drawbacks, but Mottart documents every creation and posts his work to his Instagram account. Though only a few Belgian citizens are lucky enough to see the Fleurissements in real life, if photos of his floral modifications inspire people to appreciate the public art in their midst, Mottart considers that a success.
For more botanical interventions, follow Geoffroy Mottart on Instagram.