Karin Andersen

Naughty Messy Nature

Lambda print, 2014–2018

Naughty Messy Nature (N.M.N.) is a participatory project. The co-authors of the works are not humans, but infinitely tiny microorganisms: fungi of mold.

The project is based on experiments carried out with a simple scientific method. Small sculptures made of vegetal materials are placed in a self-built custom container in special ambient conditions. The output of the experiments is freely determined by the mold that will eventually grow after some time. Photographs of the process are taken at least once a day. In some of the selected pictures I apply small, non-invasive digital post production, as a further elaboration of visual details proposed by the mold’s sculpting process. Each experiment’s result takes research to a further step, as I gradually learn about the mold’s preferences and sensitivity to temperature, light and air moisture.

Individuals portrayed in the N.M.N. series reject any kind of traditional definition in terms of gender, race or species. Identity is viewed as the result of the collective and interactive process, and as transitory concept: every image captures a special and unrepeatable moment of the figure’s constant transformation.

The N.M.N. portraits are not meant as a work about decomposition and vanishing, but as a celebration of the wonderful creative disorder generated by biological and natural processes, regardless of human efforts to establish harmony, symmetry and order in their material or mental constructions.

Photography: Courtesy Traffic Gallery, Bergamo

Karin Andersen (Italy)

Visual artist, videomaker and theorist. Born in 1966 in Burghausen, Germany. Holds a degree from Academy of Fine Arts Bologna, 1990. She mainly explores human-animal interactions and the nature-culture dialectic. Her works have been shown internationally in venues like Guidi & Schoen, Genova; Cannaviello, Milan; Traffic Gallery, Bergamo; MUU Gallery, Helsinki; Artists Space, New York; Vendsyssel Museum, Hjørring, Denmark; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna; Ca’ D’Oro Museum, Venice and Haus der Kunst, Munich. Together with Roberto Marchesini she authored the book Animal Appeal, uno studio sul teriomorfismo (Bologna, Perdisa/Hybris, 2003). Karin was awarded the Premio Maretti art prize (Galleria D’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea San Marino, 2005).