Tropicale: Difficult beauty
The University of Warsaw Botanic Garden has a collection of over 30,000 illustrations depicting plants, which were compiled by a famous Polish cleric Władysław Michał Zaleski 1852–1925, Archbishop and Apostolic Delegate of East India. This collection, entitled Flore Tropicale, is based mostly on illustrations from European botanical publications, but it gathers tropical plants from all continents. Digitalization and historical works on the collection contributed to the implementation of the artistic project in the form of a book titled Tropicale. The book refers to the classic style of botanical albums while also playing with this convention. Botanical illustrations have been juxtaposed with other archival materials left by Archbishop Zaleski, which come from his never-published Stories for Polish Youth. To combine this content, the book uses Japanese binding and hides a second, parallel story in its inner pages. This text describes the artistic and conceptual frameworks of the project in terms of book layout, images selection and editing as well as the context of botanical expeditions employed by Zaleski.