Special editions

Arja Hop & Peter Svenson

Reed canary grass, Phalaris arundinacea

Arja Hop & Peter Svenson

Rietgras / Reed canary grass, Phalaris arundinacea, Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam-Centrum, 2019 © Arja Hop & Peter Svenson

Reed canary grass is not a reed at all, but a grass that looks like a reed. The plant likes having its feet wet, so it’s not surprising that we found it along the side of the Reguliersgracht canal. The plume-shaped inflorescence has already disappeared by October, and the thin tussocks look rather faded. The rough-edged leaves resist being flattened to make a photogram, and keep resuming their original curly shape. The fold pattern in one of these leaves is therefore unavoidable, and bears witness to its resilience. – Arja Hop & Peter Svenson


Special edition

Arja Hop & Peter Svenson
Reed canary grass, Phalaris arundinacea, Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam-Centrum, Flower, Leaf, 5243, 2019
C-print (mounted on aluminium)
25,4 x 20,2 cm
Edition of 20
Signed & numbered
1 = € 150
2 = € 300
3 = € 400
4 = € 530
5 = € 650

Exclusively available from Huis Marseille’s museum shop.

To view all special editions please click on the images below:

‘Botanical alchemy’: from plant pigments to photographic colour fields

Since 2015 the visual artist and photographer Arja Hop (Hierden, 1968) and the photographer and master printer Peter Svenson (Palmerston North, New Zealand, 1956) have worked on their art project Residue Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, on the Amstel river, a city with a characteristically urban ecology in which people and nature live in close proximity and must constantly adapt to one another, they have devoted themselves in recent years to fieldwork. Within a specific geographic area they take samples of the plants growing there and then extract the plants’ pigments, using traditional methods. Hop and Svenson have developed their own method of turning these plant residues directly into analogue photographic prints. Every residue results in a uniquely layered colour tone. Each photograph tells the biochromatic story of a specific plant and location, and it seems that the intensity of the plant colour is strongly influenced by the plant’s living conditions.

‘Spontaneously occurring plants’ in Amsterdam

For their series Residue Amsterdam Hop and Svenson have concentrated on the wild plants that appear at certain locations and spread through the city without (intentional) human intervention. Their project invites us to reflect on the spontaneous presence of plants that are all around, but which we seldom notice. They used an analogue camera to register these ‘weeds’ in black and white, often from a low viewpoint. In their photos the plant is given centre stage; the city folds itself around them.

Finding place of Reed canary grass:
Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam-Centrum

Arja Hop & Peter Svenson / Florachromes: a story of four rivers will be on display from 07.12.2019 to 08.03.2020 at Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography.

The series Residue Amsterdam is supported by the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts) and the Mondriaan Fund.