Immanuel Birkert at Galerie Tobias Naehring / Leipzig


Immanuel Birkert

June 8 – July 15

Tobias Naehring

the semicircular archway with the inscription „Night has fallen and
I‘m blind and wake“, we 
Shady Garden: Immanuel Birkert‘s narrative of a shadowed garden
that seems to be in a dodgy state. The delicate paintings Shady
Garden (10a) and Shady Garden (10b) stylise design-like arrangements
and perspective tilts of gardens of a bygone era. Recurring
ornamental areas of lush greenery meander within a wall-lined,
enclosed compound; the laid-out cloisters lead to water features in
which shadowy figures appear. The rondell-like areas are the central
centrepiece, an axis of life where possible turnings are taken. Shady
Garden (7) Central Park and Shady Garden (9) Rosengarten Schloss
Heidegg are made of wood and take up these same forms. Their edges
are provided with conical spines or geometric grids, thus forming a
protective frame inside which something is nurtured for a long time
until it gradually 
The idea of a hortus conclusus („closed garden“) manifests
itself, an image motif that plays a role especially in the symbolism
of Mary and symbolises a secret place of longing and retreat.
Birkert‘s formal language of the works in Shady Garden is largely
inspired by the „Hortus
(Palatine Garden) by the engineer and garden architect Salomon de
Caus (1576-1626), who dedicated himself to designing the princely
gardens of Heidelberg Castle and almost transformed them into the
„eighth wonder of the world“ of the late Renaissance. The garden
architecture follows a strict geometrical and symmetrical concept;
diverse tree and plant species thrive on nested terraces, they are
peppered with water basins in which stone river gods bathe. The
Renaissance garden is symbolic of the „third nature“; the purely
natural, untouched state is denied to it; instead, cultivation and
artistic creation are in the foreground. This humanistic tradition of
thought could not be more clearly opposed to our own today, in which
the study of our earthly environment sees nature as a realm of
interwoven relationships, in which everything is organically
interwoven with everything else. In his execution of the Shady
Garden, Birkert contrasts this cosmic order with organically flowing
and grotesque ornaments. The spiritual power of the garden, its
symbol of earthly, fertile and juvenile life, is also reflected in
the ceramic sculptures Shady Garden, which resemble a plant made
human or extraterrestrial beings.
from leftover clay, the hybrid bodies are never depicted in their
entirety; they are studded with cone-like buds, one outgrowing an
extended bodily function, the other even living plants. Despite their
static ponderation and the rigid materiality of the clay, a certain
animation is inherent in the sculptures, as if a fertile, active
organism were seething within them. Birkert‘s sculptural works are
based on the concept that dimensions physically tangible with the
hands go hand in hand with what can be mentally grasped.

enigmatic situation in Shady Garden evokes promising and emotional
moments of adolescent
marked by the twilight of nights lived through and questionable
morality. The garden as a
of perverse, spiritual aberrations.

Yvette Scherer