Leaf is A

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2019, Variational Multiple (Edition of 9)
Lasercut on paper, laminated eucalypt leaves, text

Consultant for botanical information: Dr. Ralf Hand
Lasercut: lasernlasern
Photos: Sarah Duby

This multiple is developed within the framework of the LEAF IS A artist book. Each one was individually collected from various eucalypt tree species growing in different areas of Cyprus during my recurrent visits to the island where I grew up, between 2015-2019. The year and place of collection are indicated on the transparent foil sealing and protecting each leaf. After having been sun and/or press dried on site, each leaf was laminated, contoured drawn and mounted in this book.

There is no such thing as two identical leaves, claimed the German philosopher G.W. Leibniz. To illustrate his “Principle of the Indiscernibility of Identicals” he recounted an episode where, around the year 1695, in the garden of princess Sophia at Herrenhausen, he and another nobleman set off on the search of two identical leaves, a quest that failed despite long searching. By pleading for the uniqueness of all animate and inanimate things of the macroscopic and the microscopic world, Leibniz highlights difference as a property prior to identity while emphasizing the interrelationships between all beings as fundamental.

Eucalypt trees are native to Australia and to some islands of the Pacific. After the European colonists settled in Australia in the late 18th  century, the commercial importance of this tree through its various uses - mainly timber and fibre as the basis of pulp and paper industry and medical use of oil- was recognised and several species were exported for commercial exploitation all over the world. Since their roots can absorb huge quantities of water from the ground, eucalypt trees were used to dry swamps and marshes, which were the source of malaria in several Mediterranean countries during the 17th and 18th century. This was why  eucalypts were introduced in Cyprus by the British colonial government in the framework of a general reforestation plan starting in 1878. Today, there are more than 70 species of eucalyptus identified on the island. They are grown for both commercial and ornamental purposes.