Mirko Baselgia on the Queen of the Plant Kingdom: The Artist from Graubünden as Guest

February 11, 2015

On February 11, Mirko Baselgia, an artist from Graubünden, was a guest of the Sitterwerk, where he took wood as a material as the starting point for research along with Annett Höland and Yves Schweizer, the curators of the exhibition «With / Without a Claim to Completeness». Using the new worktable from the «Bibliozine» project, he created an overview comprising his own materials as well as books from the Art Library. He has been interested in the cedar of Lebanon, which is threatened with extinction, for a long time. It is described in the Bible as a God tree and referred to as the «queen of the plant kingdom» in various plant lexicons. In a conversation with the curators of the exhibition, Mirko Baselgia reported that it was once common in Israel to plant a cedar after the birth of a son. This tree was then so big at the point when the son married that it was possible to make the bridal bed from it – with the cedar wood as a symbol for the duration and stability of the marriage.

His personal fascination with wood is first originated with his family. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all carpenters and cabinetmakers, which apparently made a big impact on him. He appreciates the sensory components, the olfactory aspect, and the warmth that wood radiates. Wood is then also an important material in his works in a very direct way, for example, in the case of the croziers’ crooks in «Bastung digl Paster – Aleph / Beth» or in «The Bed of Procrustes – Europoolpalette». But also in «Restructuraziun», presented at the Kunstmuseum Olten 2014, where he «tiled» the floor in a Renaissance pattern using pine needles, sawdust, and bark. The «Bibliozine» in which he presents a summary of the results of his research will remain in the Art Library, where it, equipped with an RFID chip, has been incorporated into the stock of books and is available for use by library users.