Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Cornelia Hesse-Honegger's "Bilder einer mutierenden Welt" at Les Complices, Zurich

Posted in Exhibitions / Openings / Signings, Eyecandy, Historia & Memoria, Illustration, Medicine / Anatomy, Moving Images by Suzanne on May 12th, 2011 | BBC Wikipedia


Ladybird beetle near Three Mile Island. Dent and a black growth on wings by Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, watercolour, 1991 - click to enlarge

My favourite Swiss scientific artist, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, who has been following in Maria Sibylla Merian's footsteps, gained well-deserved worldwide praise and scientific recognition with her 1990 series of minute illustrations of deformations of insects she found around the core of the disaster area of Chernobyl. She continued her investigations and entomologic research by analysing insect mutation and deformation around Swiss nuclear power stations, then extending her radius to Europe and the United States (see example above).

She calls her method Seh-Forschung and her website's title is Wissenskunst and I think these terms really sum up her life and work perfectly.

Fabric Frontline's Andi Stutz was so impressed by her work that he devoted a series of stunning silk (oh, the irony!) scarves to her cause. And even though I very much doubt most Züriberg millionaire's wives have actually looked at the insects closely enough to discover they're all mutated and disfigured, exactly therein lies the genius of such a collaboration.

With a rare talent to zoom in closely on a globally important issue and combine ecologically relevant information, a political agenda, microscopic scentific precision and a zen-like pointillistic aesthetic that dispels any horror vacui, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger's current Bilder einer mutierenden Welt show in Zurich is one not to be missed.

All details below.


Various insect mutations by Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, watercolour - click to enlarge


On show: May 11 - June 11, 2011

Address: Les Complices, Anwandstrasse 9, CH-8004 Zürich, Switzerland, tel: 043 243 88 77

Gallery hours: Thu - Sat: 2 - 6 PM

Press release & preview

Artist's website

The astounding Heteroptera monograph on Amazon UK


And while we're so entomologically inclined, I would like to share this sweet trailer for the great Japanese movie Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo with you that London's Horse Hospital will be screening beginning of June:

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2 comments to " Cornelia Hesse-Honegger's "Bilder einer mutierenden Welt" at Les Complices, Zurich "

  1. Gravatar

    Maika says:

    Thank goodness for you and Cornelia Hesse-Honegger! I've never heard of her or her work before and I'm thoroughly fascinated. This is fantastic. Thanks for yet another introduction to something wonderful.

    May 14th, 2011 at 5:48 am

  2. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    Awww.. you are most welcome, Maika, and thank you so much for the kind words!

    Her "Heteroptera" monograph is such a magnificent book to own and it does pop up on eBay every once in a while - it's currently way too pricey on Amazon UK and US.

    May 15th, 2011 at 5:03 pm

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