Queer paper gardens or the Wildlife of symbols is a collage-roman inspired by the collage novels Une Semaine de Bonté (1934) by Max Ernst and Dons des Féminines (1951) by Valentine Penrose. It draws inspiration from the surrealist imagery associated with their narratives and its links to psychoanalysis, sexuality and gender in early 20th century art publishing.

The photobookwork is published in 5 volumes and traces the history of collage across three centuries, from Flora Delanica (1772-1782), Mary Delany’s botanical collage work considered a pioneering instance of collage on paper, to the photographic collages of the Victorian era and, finally, to the Modernist collage-novels that constitute the project’s fulcrum: Une Semaine de Bonté and  Dons des Féminines.

Queer Paper Gardens’ series is informed by the notion of journey, a journey in time through the history of collage and a journey through the exotic as a space for freedom and playful experimentation. It juxtaposes several sets of photoworks- landscapes, staged portraits, botanical collage, Victorian illustrated collage and drawings, alongside an essay on the queer history of collage. Its approach consists in a combination of artistic research with historic and visual enquiry, and integrates a variety of literary and visual narratives, that interweave fiction with historical archives.


roush, paula and lusitano, maria (2013) Queer paper gardens or the Wildlife of symbols, Collage-Roman. Lisbon: EDP Foundation 2013. Five softcover volumes, in a customised, numbered and signed grey board slipcase, with a numbered and signed silkscreen, book dimensions when closed: 21 cm x 29.7 cm, offset printed in munken pure paper 150 gr., edition of 100




Queer Paper Gardens, curated by Joao Pinharanda, Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon, June 6 - September 8 2013

Dreaming Through –On & Into the Exotic, curated by Maria Kheirkha, 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning London, April 4 - May 18 2013