Ode to Joris, a Hoefnagel
More and more I find myself producing artwork of tiny creatures and plants that seem revolting, but most of the time have a purpose. Horsetail, the nests of Eumenes wasps, giant ticks, and springtails for example. I also try to find their culinary usefulness. I even prepared with a friend, snails from my own garden, and through a blind trial versus French snails, ours came out best! Unfortunately I have not been able to find a culinary solution for horsetail, a prolific garden weed. However, is makes beautiful paper. The choice of the material that I work with is always subservient to the art object to be made. I have made objects in steel, ceramics, concrete, textile, and wood. In addition, many of my ideas have been elaborated in etchings, screen prints and photo’s. A sketch is the starting point for researching the basis: a form, an imagery that remains when all side issues have fallen away. For this art project the skull was my canvas.
In 2018 Joris Hoefnagel came across my path. A scientific illustrator from the Late Middle Ages. His work can be seen in Antwerp, so I paid him a visit in museum Plantin-Mortus and was allowed access to the archive to study his work further. The notes I made there are the basis of this object. Next to detailed maps of medieval cities Joris made many illustrations of plants and tiny creatures. The transience of life often appears in his work. It is the basis for this object. I have applied several elements of his work (as captured in my notes). Humor, who eats who, nothing is right, reflection, symmetry, marks, affected, a cutout, texts in a framework. I have chosen to place tattoos on the skull. Nowadays people choose tattoos with images and texts, sometimes fully covering their body. Forming a cacophony, each tattoo with its story.
Omina Vanitas, chosen as the title, in the language of Joris Hoefnagel. Omina, a sign or an omen and Vanitas, the transient.
Inge Hoefnagel - Omina Vanitas - mixed media - 31x17x21 cm
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