I made the first 'Blumen' picture after looking at Robert Mapplethorpe's Pictures book. I was struck by how much freedom Mapplethorpe was able to extract from his model's restraint-that in tying up and cropping his models, he appears to be able to work with people as forms. I never thought about my flowers as related to his (which I saw as annoyingly erotic); I thought of them in relationship to bondage. I wanted to make the flowers more aggressive and ironic and less docile and sensual.
Gardening is one of the rewards of middle age, when one is ready for an impersonal passion, a passion that demands patience, acute awareness of a world outside oneself, and the power to keep on growing through all the times of drought, through the cold snows, towards those moments of pure joy when all failures are forgotten and the plum tree flowers.
Today as in the time of Pliny and Columella, the hyacinth flourishes in Wales, the periwinkle in Illyria, the daisy on the ruins of Numantia; while around them cities have changed their masters and their names, collided and smashed, disappeared into nothingness, their peaceful generations have crossed down the ages as fresh and smiling as on the days of battle.
You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything. Without love you would not be happy or want to play.