- copyright — @ Nicolai Howalt
- year — 2023
- edition — 5
- size — Different sizes
- material — Giclee print.
In F.U.N.G.I., Danish artist Nicolai Howalt contemplates the vital and enigmatic world of fungi. A world normally invisible to the naked eye, and yet as essential to life on Earth as sunlight or oxygen.
In F.U.N.G.I., Danish artist Nicolai Howalt contemplates the vital and enigmatic world of fungi. A world normally invisible to the naked eye, and yet as essential to life on Earth as sunlight or oxygen. Howalt’s work is a visual exploration that vibrates between scientific study and artistic experimentation and incorporates the fungi as an essential component of the creative process.
Inside light-sealed, temperate boxes, Howalt has grown spores from select species of fungi directly on unexposed analog photographic paper. Living off the gelatin-based emulsion, the fungi spread across the papers for weeks before being developed by Howalt in the darkroom. The result is photogram images created by the fungi themselves. Organic images that reveal traces of the fungal networks through the deterioration of the papers. Other spores have been meticulously grown in petri dishes and scanned in high-resolution scanners to produce images that reveal a colorful diversity of spherical fungal growths. Additionally, Howalt has grown fungi in paper-thin layers and left them to dry out for months. Once dry, the delicate, translucent samples of fungi are used as unique fungal negatives in the darkroom to create positive analog photographs exposed through negatives made entirely out of fungi.
F.U.N.G.I. presents an examination of fungi based on different parameters than the strictly scientific or botanical. More than a mere recording of specimens, Howalt makes the fungi an integral part of the artistic exploration in a direct, tangible and co-creative way. The work crosses boundaries between science and art and touches upon questions relating to existential ecology, time and the phenomenology of photography, as well as the history of mycology and the significance of fungi to our lives and planet. Through the work, Howalt seeks to spur imagination, awareness and reflection on the mysterious, yet acutely vital lives of fungi and on our co-dependence with nature.