If we compare the history of science with art history, we’ll find that these two areas of research into life used to be one. Over time, a fundamental separation of these two worldviews seems to have occurred. But the connection between sophisticated princes’ cabinets of curiosities, the precursors of today’s museums of natural history, and artistic presence had since their beginning been mutually stimulating—as spaces where artists were part of the process of exploring nature.
Against this backdrop, the Natural History Museum, Leipzig, and D21 Artspace have invited Leipzig artists Erik Weiser and Theresa Zwerschke to engage artistically with the museum’s collection. Erik Weiser has studied the various fish species and re-created them using curious materials, such as neon-colored sneakers. His works will be shown from 21 July to 3 September 2021 on the second floor of the Natural History Museum.
Theresa Zwerschke on the other hand starts from the special characteristics of the Oenothera (evening primrose) and responds to its forms and behavior in artistic ways. She is interested in the museum’s herbaria. In an artistic research, she traces materializations of the botanical knowledge that is stored in the herbarium and of its connection to a colonial past. She begins by asking how the collection was compiled and in which contexts the plants were found and searches for ways of presenting and making visual the collected knowledge that would help to expand a scientific approach to the herbarium through new narratives. Her installation will be shown at the Natural History Museum’s presentation room from 7 to 30 September 2021.