Mandrake Phytographs from 2023
Living and dead mandrake roots are drawn with India ink on absorbent paper, which has been infused prior with coffee, soil and the body of the portrayed mandrake root. It is meant as a collector’s item in a series of “Root” drawings, which I have been creating over a number of years.
Drawings from this series have been exhibited for the first time in 2017 in Berlin as part of the “Bad Intentions” group exhibition, alongside internationally renowned artists from Isreal and Palestine. They were also featured in an online exhibition titled “ROOT”, held in 2021 by The Organic Centre Ireland during the Corona pandemic.
The artistic process that I refer to as “phytography” has been introduced to a larger audience in 2022 during the virtual “Viridis Genii Symposium VII” and has been published as part of the accompanying book series.
Choosing mandrake as an artistic theme is tapping into and continuing an anthropomorphic mandrake root cult, which can be found throughout millenia of human civilization. My research on the religious symbolism and folkloristic mandrake traditions was published in the article “Regina Amandrakina” featured in “Pillars” journal released by Anathema Publishing in 2014. A summary of mandrake’s purported magical properties is attached via the info sheet accompanying your drawing.
The roots are portrayed in and beyond their physical form, employing different layers composed of physical matter from the root and the detailed ink drawing created during many hours, in which I establish a deeper connection to the plant soul. During this process I gain ‘magical’ experiences, such as roots that seemed dead suddenly starting to thrive again, which is in line with mandrake’s alleged necromantic and resurrecting powers.
Even more satisfying is to see the roots finding new life in new homes and transforming and functioning as divinatory tools and serving as magical famuli in the hands of other mandrake enthusiasts.
January 5, 2024