Botanischer Garten Jena

Founded in 1586 as a "hortus medicus", the Botanischer Garten Jena is the second oldest botanical garden in Germany. In 1776, Goethe began to visit the garden and helped organize the Jena Botanical Institute; over the next few decades, he studied botany there and regularly wrote poems. The garden was badly damaged during the Battle of Jena in 1806 and took many years to restore. Today, the garden covers 4.5 hectares and houses more than 12,000 plant species in five greenhouses.

Every time I visit the garden with my film camera, I feel like I'm on a journey through time and space, on the border between the familiar and the exotic, the natural and the artificial, reality and fiction. I am fascinated by the juxtaposition of lush plants and the pragmatic architecture, creating an interesting tension between the natural and the man-made.

Each immersion in this lush environment evokes for me the words of Henri Rousseau who described his frequent visits to the Jardin des Plantes to paint his surrealist jungle scenes: "When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me that I enter into a dream."