2019 - 2020

project and installation, solo exhibition Bird Bath, Lumen Travo Gallery

365 drawings, 365 cartons, 365 branches
size each drawing: H 30,5 x W 23 CM, length each branch about 10 to 17 CM
size total installation variable
(installation at Lumen Travo Gallery: total area walls 81 m2)

From the first of January 2019, throughout the whole year (which is one third of a sparrow’s life), Mariëlle Videler made a drawing of a bird every day. Not by looking at a bird, or by thinking of a bird, by drawing she slowly senses the bird. Mariëlle Videler scans his feathers, his beak takes shape and discovers what his physique and character are. The drawings are made with very fine pencil. Little by little, she builds up the plumage, creating different patterns, like garments made of hand-woven textile, with a pleated collar and scalloped edges.




Photo: Sara Berton
For the project 365 BIRDS Mariëlle Videler found inspiration in the drawings of Jan Velten. He drew the animals he observed around 1700 in the courtyard of Jan Blauw’s inn in Amsterdam. The exotic animal collection, also referred to as the birdhouse, was a big attraction in the city. The animals were shipped to the Netherlands by trade travelers of the VOC. For example, Velten saw for the first time a majestic king vulture in the birdhouse.

Velten's drawings stand in contrast to the enormous abundance of available images of exotic animals in our current culture. We can also, whenever we want, view wild animals in the zoos scattered around the world, but these animals are often the last living specimens of their kind. In San Diego, for example, lives in captivity, born in a breeding program, the Hawaiian crow Kinohi. He was raised by his caretakers who fed him with hand puppets in the shape of a crow. Elizabeth Kolbert writes about him in her book: ‘He lives in his own world ... He once fell in love with a spoonbill.’ As a reaction to the contrast of these two worlds Marëlle Videler envisaged the idea of connecting with a bird every day for a year and making a drawing.