Presentation: Mandy den Elzen

Opening: The Morphology of Fish

by Mandy den Elzen

2 Nov 2019

Mandy den Elzen's new installation shows a collection of fish gills, displayed in our Aquaponics greenhouse. Her work unveils the aesthetics of organs, usually appreciated mainly for their function. The exhibition will open with a collection of 15 gills, which will continue to grow, like the plants and fish they inhabit and cohabit with.

Join us for the opening of this installation on Museumnacht, at 17:00 on November 2nd, with an introductory talk by Martin Melchers at 17:30.



Mandy introducing her installation The Morphology of Fish - Anisa Xhomaqi

Nature inside out

Mandy den Elzen is the new artist represented by Mediamatic. For some years now, Mandy's work has focused on the relationship between humans and animals, how animals are used by humans, and how they are depicted in our cultures. 

In her art practice, Mandy uses animal body parts, transforming them into artworks. Her aim is to make you look beyond the biological function of animal organs and explore their structure and potential beauty. Morphology and Aristotle’s biology inspire her observation of the physical characteristics of animals. Based on these scientific references, she chooses organs whose appearance interest her most.
She processes them, enabling them to survive autonomously and indepedently from the animal they used to reside in. Her work has focused on exploring the digestive system of a cow and the respiratory system of fish. Through her fascination she sheds light on the aesthetic aspects of these natural wonders.

A local treasure

For her collaboration with Mediamatic, Mandy studied fish species from the waters surrounding the Biotoop in a radius of 1 kilometer. Local fisherman Piet Ruijter, the only traditional fisherman allowed on these waters, provided various fish species.

The specificity of the fish informs visitors about the geography and history of this part of Amsterdam. Most of these fish are species unique to fresh waters, mainly estuaries or coastal waters, such as the IJ river and docks. Some are familiar food products, such as bream, cod, perch or whiting. They form a part of local culture; fish-based courses are typical of Dutch cuisine and appreciated for their freshness. Fisherman Piet supplies several local restaurants with his catches. As well as teaching us about local culture and history, the fish reveal information about environmental science, geography and biology.