Ernst Haeckel’s everlasting inspiration

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Published in Nature by

One hundred lithographs of micro-organisms, plants and animals designed more than a century ago by German biologist Ernst Haeckel and blown up to five times life size adorn the walls of Mediamatic’s exhibition space in Amsterdam. The result is breathtaking.

Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) was a German biologist, philosopher and artist who not only discovered, described and named thousands of new species, but also recognized the beauty of nature in all its forms. In his book Kunstformen Der Natur of 1904 he captured this beauty in one hundred highly esthetical illustrations. Blown up to two meters height these illustrations now fill the walls of the former factory hall that today houses Mediamatic, the cultural institution for art and new technology. The exhibition was officially opened this weekend.

Ever since the release of the book, Haeckel’s illustrations have proven to be a continuous source of inspiration for designers, artists, architects, illustrators and biologists. The exhibition at Mediamatic gives several examples, from beautiful water-colours by Dutch architect H.P Berlage for patterns and decorations to the Radioloria lamps made of 3D knitted textile in the form of microscopic organisms by Amsterdam design agency Bernotat&Co.

The Haeckel-exhibition coincides with an ongoing investigation by Mediamatic into bio-design and the possibilities of designing with fungi, micro-organisms and fermentation processes. This weekend, for instance, producers of all kinds of fermented foods offered their products at a very well visited Fermentology market. A lot is brewing in the east of Amsterdam. A visit is well worth the detour.


Kunstformen der Natur
, until 30 October 2014
Mediamatic
VOC-kade 10
Amsterdam
Mediamatic.net
Open: Wed-Sun 13-18 hours

Illustrations from Kunstformen der Natur

Illustrations from Kunstformen der Natur

Water-colour by H.P Berlage and Radioloria lamps by Bernotat&Co

Water-colour by H.P Berlage and Radioloria lamps by Bernotat&Co

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