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Takeover #203 Leonie Brandner

Leonie Brandner: Instagram / Website

#203 (25/04 - 29/04, 2022) written by Linda Köke

Leonie Brandner takes her inspiration from the peripheral things that are on the border of our active perception. She is interested in the way we interact with and care for things that are not ourselves, particularly in plants. She wonders how plants shape our experience of the world, focusing on the mundane rather than the peculiar. The materials that she chooses, paper, glue, fabric and ceramics, reference domesticity and often gendered labour. She works her objects into sculptural installations, also involving sound, smell, sound and storytelling. Her materials’ uncomplex wielding gives her the opportunity and time to physically be involved in the making of her work.

“Working with these slow material processes gives me a lot of time to listen to things, a nice way to relax. I need quietness, I need moments where it is quiet and I can just do my things. I enjoy the physical interaction with materials.”

In 2021 Leonie obtained her MA in Artistic Research at KABK in The Hague, where she is currently living. Her graduation work My Ears are My Eyes focuses on the Oenothera biennis, commonly known as the Evening Primrose: a plant with yellow flowers that blossoms in large parts of the Dutch dunes. The native American plant came to Europe in 1614 and has since then been growing across the world. The dunes near her seaside city are covered with the typical yellow flowers that grow on long, leafy stems. For the degree show she replicated the petals with paper, placing them in an installation surrounded by ceramic vessels, seedlings in jars, lights, scents and sounds, all to tell the story of one flower blossoming at night.

“Fragments of stories and ancient traces of storytelling became essential parts of my work. They reverberate in textures, surfaces, sense (smells), songs, melodies and atmospheres. Plants that inspire me the most are those that are used in bizarre ways, as is often told in fairy tales and myths.”

A two-thousand-year-old song of a mountain goddess, in which she sings ‘the grass will wilt and the moss will shrivel’, is a leading storytelling fragment in Leonie’s current project, Moss Opera. Moss is a unique natural absorber, insulator and pioneer, by being able to grow on rocks and providing a fertile surface for other plants. Working together with Nina Guo, a friend and opera singer, the two of them will create a half hour performance within a large-scale visual and sonic installation of a mossy world. The two will be singing about absorption, swelling and sinking, as the tiny inhabitants of this moss-installation.

“I have always loved making and creating. I love the physical process of making my work. As an artist I can always choose what I want to do and that is an incredible gift.”

During the takeover, Leonie will be showing a collection of things. From the work that has gone into her graduation project, My Ears are My Eyes, to the research that is leading up to the production of Moss Opera, which will premier in September 2022. In addition, Leonie will be sharing a lot of the research behind her work.

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