Cornelia Hesse-Honegger – Heteroptera – Images of a mutant world

Soft Bug, Miridae, 1988, watercolour,
42 x 29,7 cm, Zurich, CH; Head of a soft bug, Miridae from
Schönenwerd, Canton Aargau, Switzerland, found near the nuclear
power plant Gösgen. A growth out of the left eye and disturbance
of the facettes are visible

Cornelia Hesse-Honegger in Le Monde diplomatique

taz - Mutants from Fukushima (german)

From 1967 onwards I painted mutant fruit flies and houseflies that had been poisoned or exposed to radiation in laboratories in order to cause mutations. For me, they became prototypes, visions of a future man-made form of nature. In 1968 I painted my first bug heteroptera, because I found it so beautiful.
Since then, I have been collecting these insects in various biotopes, and I paint them to this day. In 1987, one year after the accident at Chernobyl, I started to systematically collect bugs in areas that had been radioactively contaminated by the Chernobyl cloud. Beginning in 1988, I examined bugs from the vicinity of nuclear plants. These insects— over 16,000—I examine with the aid of a binocular loupe. I distinguish between »morphological defects« (MD) and »all defects« (AD). MD are deformations such as wings of unequal length, missing segment in the antennae or shorter antennae, adnate or deformed abdominal segments, asymmetrical thorax, or deformations of the legs or feet. AD are dark spots, pigmentation changes, holes, deformities of the material (chitin). The defect rate in all examined areas is 22 percent for »morphological defects« and 30 percent for »all defects«. In order to be able to compare the defects, I collect 50 or 65 bugs with plastic beakers in intact biotopes, and narcotize them for the external examination. Polluted biotopes are compared with unpolluted ones. Bugs from the vicinity of Zurich where I collected 313 bugs from 1968 to 1989, from Ghana (50 bugs in 1971) and Costa Rica (63 bugs in 2005) did not exhibit any morphological defects at that time. During the field studies, I make color sketches which I later turn into meticulous watercolors in my studio. The work with bugs moves and fascinates me, and it is my contribution to the efforts to maintain and protect our nature.
Cornelia Hesse-Honegger






We want to thank everyone who helped to make the 18th venue in Erfurt possible!

18. ZNE! Station ERFURT (Germany)


Duration: 28.7.2019 to 22.9.2019

Pictures from the exhibition in Erfurt here!

***

We mourn our friend and benefactor, the artist and philosopher Prince Rudolf zur Lippe, who died on 6 September 2019.

He made thoughts dance and people move.

During the exhibition in Erfurt, which shows works from the cycle "Learning from the Birds" in the church of the Augustinian monastery, he wanted to talk to us about it and how it is linked to Goethe and Alexander von Humboldt.

We will miss him greatly, not only there.

***

*****Join us on facebook******