The Hunters Enter the Woods, 2016
Oil on aluminium
300 × 540 cm (installed width of diptych)
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2016 commission
Rendered with hyper-realist precision, Eustaquio’s painting reflects on our contradictory attitude towards the world – both manmade and natural – through the metaphor of the Orchidaceae, asking what drives our quest for the unique, even as we seek to manipulate and replicate the object of our desire. While orchids were once rare specimens that spurred an obsession in flower hunters, they are now big business in the global horticulture industry and popular attractions in botanical gardens, with over 100,000 hybrids created to date. The diptych – resembling Rorschach inkblots or island formations – mirrors the orchid’s zygomorphic form. The left side portrays the Paphiopedilum fowler, an endangered wild orchid that can be found in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The adjoining panel depicts a recently named orchid hybrid: as part of this artwork’s commissioning process, Eustaquio acquired its naming rights. “Winter Wedderburn” references a H.G. Wells story, in which an orchid collector is killed by his bloodsucking floral possession.