Emden forest appears in art

Emden The forest is in our heads. Thinking about it stirs emotions. Feelings of happiness and feelings of fear. Mixed forest feelings. The forest can be green. But also a deep black. Clearing and clump. The forest gives life. It dies before our eyes. He is much higher than man, even those who cut him. The forest does not need us, but we need it.

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And of course he has always been a source of inspiration for creative people, “The Legend of the Forest”. An exhibition with this title can now be experienced in Kunsthalle Emden, which clearly shows what the forest does to us and what we do with it. Nearly 80 works by forty artists can be viewed, a good part of the interior collection, supplemented by loans.

Brutal issues in Isaiah Green

It is intentional to have a warning at the beginning and at the end of the round. The gallery organizers intend that art lovers will come in and out of the gallery carefully. The video filmed by Uri Gercht in Room One takes us in a slow meditative tracking shot in the bushes of western Ukraine. The lush greenery, the chirping of birds, the life in bloom – if only the mighty tree trunk hadn’t hit the trees now and then so loudly. Is it a case study of the paradoxical relationship between man and nature? Or a metaphor for this Tel Aviv-born artist of life and death unnoticed in times of war?

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In the last room it starts the same. The illusion-realistic but entirely computer-generated video presentation by Antwerp artist David Clarepot shows calm, green images of a healthy forest, which then slowly darkens and turns into something infernal, something threatening — and something menacing. Because the colors of fire mix red and yellow with black. Anyone who has been following the news of the past few weeks knows how close we are to this dangerous situation for us and the local forests.

The forest as a place of magic and refuge

Between these appeals, plenty of artwork from very different eras grows in Emden, from Autumn Trees by Gabriel Münter and Paula Moderson-Becker’s birch trunk to Jörg Emmendorf and Bear Kirkeby to Michael Selstorfer’s “Rocket Tree”. Trees, trees, trees. Classical modernism made its way through the woods, just as photography does to this day. Until the 20th century, the forest was sometimes a magical place of art, sometimes a place of refuge, sometimes unknown darkness, sometimes the source of life. And the man, after all, is a stunned subject. With the dying out of the forest and thus the destructive over-exploitation of nature, the artistic interpretation also becomes darker, the forest becomes a victim, and the collateral damage of human intervention in natural processes.

The forest has always been alluring. Photographer Andreas Mohe plays with this seductive poetess. His Cotton Winter Forest series seems innocent until you read its title: “Obersalzberg”. Suddenly this winter is cold and gray. When he puts people in the woods in his photos taken with large format cameras, they usually appear young among the great trees, often peeking from the Nazis. The forest as a home background for the chain of power – for “trouble” an instrument of dictatorships, he deliberately smears it with his own arrangement.

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Forest of restricted bars

In the same way that Muehle’s portraits look like paintings, Robert Longo’s wall-to-wall portrait of a forest cut by the morning sun looks like a photograph. The brush jar can only be seen from a distance of the length of the branch.

You can avoid the art of Bettina Pousttchi, who built her own little forest of sculptures – of boundary rails that are supposed to protect trees from cars parked too close. Because when people bring the forest to the city, they attack it with a mobile phone, so to speak, the tree is supposed to compensate for the poison. Perhaps it would be a good idea to leave this exhibition, which is well worth watching carefully.

Until October 31 in Kunsthalle Emden. Information: www.kunsthalle-emden.de.

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