November 8th, 2008 by Leo Plaw

Madeline Von Foerster – Waldkammer – Strychnin Gallery Exhibition

Madeline Von Foerster at her Strychnin Gallery Berlin exhibition with her painting “Amazon Cabinet” in the background.

Madeline Von Foerster at her Strychnin Gallery Berlin exhibition with her painting “Amazon Cabinet” in the background.

Madeline Von Foerster‘s exhibition was already bustling with people early on Friday evening. Having worked a good part of a year on her exhibition, a number were already sold before the opening. Madeline’s artwork exhibits fine painterly skill and technique much like that of the Old Masters. So much so, the German customs officials thought that antique paintings were being smuggled into the country.

Her painting is one of a new series titled “Waldkammer” (Forest Cabinet). The idea came to Madeline one day while in her studio while contemplating her antique cuckoo clock.  She was thinking of the living tree was that cut down to make this curiosity that now hung on her wall. This led her to explore the phenomenon of the Cabinets of Curiosities, or Wunderkammern.

The concept of such cabinets was originally an invention of the age of Enlightenment and the Baroque, where wealthy lords and patricians created collections of a wide variety of objects displaying the multi-faceted “wonders” of God’s creations, especially from exotic colonial territories. Coral, minerals, taxidermy, and the like – were lovingly and often fetishistically contained and displayed. These went on to form the basis for many natural history museums, and the approach of science to categorize things and place them neatly in their boxes.

The “Waldkammer” series consists of nine paintings that explore humanity’s often destructive relationship with nature and the crisis of deforestation in particular. These painted wooden cabinets allude to the once-living trees that were their source: Some are carved into the shape of women personifying the trees as living things. Meanwhile, the “curiosities” displayed are actual species, dependant on the trees for survival.

Madeline’s exhibition catalogue goes into much more detail about each individual piece and the animals and plants represented therein. The catalogue was printed though print on demand (POD) with It is to be noted that a growing number of artists taking advantage of this cost effective option to bring their artwork to print.

One can be drawn into Madeline Von Foerster‘s detailed and finely executed curiosities of her “Waldkammer” series at Strychnin Gallery Berlin.

Madeline Von Foerster – Waldkammer

Duration: November 7th until December 7th, 2008

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