Hicham Berrada - Mesk Ellil, 2015-2019
In Mesk-ellil (night-blooming jasmine, literally “musk of the night”), Hicham Berrada has altered the climatic conditions and circadian rhythm of plants to create a garden that is a reverie of the senses. This botanical theater, which combines nature and artifice, takes the form of a stroll among glass terrariums filled with Mesk-ellil, a fine, precious flower that reveals its beauty by day but opens up and releases its fragrance at night. Thus Berrada has created a garden steeped in an artificial halflight, at the moment when this flower secretly releases its subtle scents. To achieve this, the artist has intervened poetically in the climatic parameters of the environment and the plant’s circadian rhythm. For twelve hours, he causes an artificial darkness to fall on the garden. During the other twelve, he produces the light the plants require by using a horticultural lighting system. This turning of day into night, this inverted life of the flowers, this profusion of fragrances, transforms the exhibition space into a sensory landscape.