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This is a returning season-based project; having spent, and still wanting to spent, many autumn seasons working with these mushrooms and furthering the project with them.

coprinus comatus, fungi, decompose

DE-BIRTH is made with the Coprinus comatus fungus. This fungus transforms over the course of time, from a pristine white bulb into a repelling black mass. This species is often not regarded as a pretty roadside mushroom, it’s rather avoided due to the fact that it becomes a liquid mess. This transformation, called deliquescence in scientific terms, is what sparks my interest in this mushroom. The act of self-destruction is needed for the mushroom to be able to release its spores, where fungi have many ways of distributing their spores and their fruiting bodies almost always will die back after their reproduction, the process of deliquescence shows a real-time visual of the cycle of life and death. Using self-destruction as a way of reproducing, is what I find very philosophical as well as interesting in biological aspects.


In DE-BITH I’m manipulating and playing with the autodigestive function of this fungus. Working with this mushroom means getting dirty in order to get to know to know it better. By capturing the beautiful aspects and the different stages of self-destruction, making the process into images that seem both beautiful, while they are also dealing with the dirty aspects of the mushroom. Most of the works are caught on paper; containing the ink, spores and sometimes leftover parts of the mushroom as well. This way life and death come together as one image, forever in stasis. They are neither able to grow nor to completely decay. This is why I like to call the prints “schimmen”, translated as a kind of vague image or shadows. 

The creation of these prints are experimental; I’m experimenting with different kinds of techniques to influence the outcome, like the usage of time. A short contact with the paper results in a precise print of the lamella, or a flow of movement. The longer the fungus is on the paper, the more it dissolves. This creates more inkflow and you will see the release of spores on the paper. If the fungus is left on the paper it will harden into a blackened dehydrated form. Additionally the kind of paper that is used, usage of movement and other techniques, creates many interesting prints and outcomes.


Not all interventions with the inc cap are on paper, this project also consists of some projector slides filled with ink, as well as keeping the literal dried mushroom parts for visual and material usages. Visual for seeing them as small sculptural pieces, material for having made paint and pigment from some of those dried parts. 

Every new seasonal interaction with the Coprinus comatus involves exploring other ways of playing with their transforming aspects. 

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