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This Thing Called Darkness

Mariele NEUDECKER


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 Mariele Neudecker is known for installations featuring majestic nature and landscape motifs, reminiscent of the allegorical paintings of the German Romantics typified by Caspar David Friedrich. Her widely discussed contribution to Yokohama Triennale 2001 was a gigantic mountain range diorama floating in a water tank filled with an opaque white liquid.
 For Towada, she has created a fantastic scene of light filtering through the trees in a forest. The diorama is ten meters deep, six wide and five high, produced by taking life casts of pine trunks in a woodland. The sense of verisimilitude is such that the visitor feels actually lost in the woods, awed just as they might be when faced with a natural spectacle. The title, This Thing Called Darkness, is a phrase taken from Shakespeare. The artist’s obsessive attention to detail, seen for example in her recreation of the moss-covered ground, adds to the piece’s dramaturgy−this mysterious moment neither noon nor night nor morning, but rather timelessness−psychologically inviting viewers deeper into the forest, in a work resonating clearly with the museum’s grounding concept of the importance of nature as a theme.

Photo: Iwasaki Mami
Courtesy the artist and Galerie Barbara Thumm with the kind support of the Forestry Commission, Bedgebury Pinetum, England


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