Ever since the release of Kunstformen Der Natur, in the beginning of the 20th century, the beautiful illustrations by Ernst Haeckel have proven to be a continuous source of inspiration for designers, artists, architects, illustrators and biologists. What make these images so special that, to this day, they have stayed relevant and influential in both the artistic and scientific community?
With larger than life illustrations by Ernst Haeckel, watercolors from Dutch architect H.P.Berlage, Radiolara lighting from Bernotat&Co and light objects from Rudy Guedj, Martin Huger, Olya Troitskaya and Sophie Rogg, the exhibition Kunstformen Der Natur showed you a fantastic collection of natural curiosities.
Kunstformen Der Natur
Kunstformen Der Natur was first published in sets of 10 between 1899 and 1904. It consists of a total of a 100 lithographs by the hand of German biologist Ernst Haeckel and lithographer Adolf Giltsch. All of the individual sets were later combined to become one single book.
For the exhibition of Kunstformen Der Natur Mediamatic presented all 100 prints on spectacular scale. The 1904 publication of the book is in property of Mediamatic and was also on show.
Renowned Dutch architect H.P.Berlage found inspiration in Haeckel's depiction of nature. His watercolor studies, of the geometrical patterns found in Haeckel's work, were also part of the exhibition. The delicate works are part of the Berlage collection from Het Nieuwe Instituut.
Bernotat&Co are a design agency from Amsterdam. Their Radiolaria collection consists of lamps made of 3D knitted textile with glow-in-the-dark effect and is inspired by microscopic organisms.
Rudy Guedj, Martin Huger, Olya Troitskaya and Sophie Rogg met during their studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie where they collaborated on the visual identity for the school’s theory program in 2013. The intention of the program was to explore the field of ecology through theory and art, from history to our present-days. Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen Der Natur was used within the visual identity not only as an inspiration, but also as a 'canvas' to interact with. A selection of the collages was presented as an installation in the context of the exhibition at Mediamatic. Read more.
This pee garden by Sophia Twigt is an installation about peeing outside, which in the Netherlands is fined with €140,-. However phosphate in pis can be quite useful for plants. Liquid Gold anticipates on this fact.
On Sunday November 23rd we opened up the Kunstformen Der Natur exhibition for one final day. Not only was this your last chance to visit the extraordinary exhibition but we also invited Constance Sommerey and Koen Beumer talk about Haeckel, evolution and human-animal hybrids. (Did you know that in 1920 they actually tried to mate humans with apes?!) After the talks it was time to wrap up the exhibition. Literally. Together with the audience we took the posters down and transferred the exhibition to our homes.
For more images visit Kunstformen Fnissage page.
Special thanks to Het Nieuwe Instituut for loaning Berlage's drawings and to the sponsors for making Kunstformen der Natur possible.
A3 Scannen, Bugaboo, Fonds Creatieve Industrie, Gemeente Amsterdam, Het Nieuwe Instituut and Stadgenoot.