2 March – 5 May 2023
They camouflage their malice very cleverly, the poisonous hemlock, the parasitic fungi and plant-killing pests that give the exhibition at ERES Projects its name. The plant parasites, magnified umpteen times, surprise us with their bizarre aesthetics. The objects, created around 1900, are scientific teaching models that could easily pass for artistic works. The unique pieces from Reinhold and Robert Brendel show how amazingly fluid the transition between scientific observation and fine art can be. The objects, artistically crafted with great attention to detail from papier-mâché, wood and plaster and then painted, were intended for practical botanical exercises at schools and universities; many can be taken apart - similar to anatomical models. This makes it possible to understand and comprehend how the leaf of a pest is constructed, for example, or what makes the shape of the spore deposit so unique.
While this form of nature representation unites aesthetic seeing, teaching and knowledge, the Finnish artist Sanna Kannisto (*1974) refers to scientific experimental set-ups in her appropriation of nature. While modern STED microscopy revolutionises technical imaging, Kannisto chooses the direct, unobstructed view of flora and fauna. She slips into the role of the researcher, takes part in scientific expeditions, examines and photographs plants and animals in stage-like mobile "field studios". As if in a theatre set, a green-metallic shimmering snake, for example, coils ominously around the spines of a strelitzia. Isolated from their natural environment, they become the focus of a careful staging that does not follow a scientific system, but a purely aesthetic system of order. Kannisto moves between disciplines, uses the know-how and equipment of the researchers for her work. She approaches nature, as she explained in a recent interview, "like a scientist, like an artist, like a child, like a romantic traveller (...). Because art has the ability to convey scientific knowledge in a different, visual way." In the synopsis the exhibition spans an exciting arc between both worlds.