Matthias Garff

Now it's time to take a look
At the insects or candles.
Even if there are many among them,
that every child thinks he knows –
May beetles, butterflies, bees –,
Yet there are some among them
Which even to high science
Are still new or mysterious.
—Eugen Roth

Collections of insects, for a long time a hobbyhorse of the educated bourgeoisie, present excerpts of nature's richness of colour and form. At the same time, they manifest a clear power relationship between man and nature. Insects are systematically collected, killed and classified in a taxonomic system. They become cultivated objects in the boxes.

Matthias Garff's insect boxes cite this cultural practice. They show how strongly our perception of nature is shaped by aesthetic criteria. The small size of the individual objects and their form of presentation make the work appear from a distance to be a natural history collection. His insects, roughly assembled from found material and fixed with wire and nails, only reveal their artificial character on closer inspection. The supposed entomologist turns out to be a rubbish collector. Is he one of the protagonists of ›Neo Arte Povera‹? The reconciliation between nature and artificiality and the format of the box allow Garff to play freely with colours, forms and materiality.

Matthias Garff is showing four of his new insect boxes in a small cabinet exhibition. The resulting arrangements address a central need of our time in dealing with nature: Enjoyment without a guilty conscience.

Matthias Garff, born 1986 in Solothurn, CH, lives and works in Leipzig.
From 2008 to 2015 he studied at the Dresden University of Fine Arts.
Specialist class, Prof. Grossarth. Master student, Prof. Dammbeck.
Exhibitions in Stuttgart, Dresden, Leipzig, Görlitz, Buenos Aires.
His works are in private collections in Dresden, among others,
the collection of the sculpture garden Weisser Hirsch and
the collection of the Museum Bautzen.
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