“In his installation Crocus sativus, fleur du bonheur, Guillaume Barth pays homage to the saffron flower by capturing the moment of its birth. The artist invented a rotating plate system for time-lapse photography so as to reveal the rotating movement of the flower, like the dance of the dervishes for which it is a metaphor. It opens under the full moon and blooms for 24 hours, which is the duration of its life. A video projects this actual size in the middle of a levitating circle with a diameter of four metres. Visitors are invited to stand on a rug whose motif recalls the spiralling form of the petals. There they hear a melody inspired by the root sounds of Sufi tradition, composed by Mirtohid Radfar. The three phases in this music sing the rising of the saffron flower from its bulb, the exaltation of its opening, and then a gentle settling. It sets forth the present moment. There are three circles: the rotating movement of the flower, the circle of the carpet and, above all, the undulating field of the music spinning around us and within us. This multicultural work offers a space of resilience. Known since time immemorial, saffron is a powerful natural anxiolytic associated with joy, luck and regeneration.
Jeanette Zwingenberger teaches at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne She is an art historian and curator of exhibitions working internationally.