Aquaforte etching, metal plates in logs, environment size, 2013


As if part of an entomological collection, the stag beetles are mounted on the metal plate, preserved in acquaforte etching

Hirschkäfer, stag beetles

It’s almost like something you’d see in a nature museum, but these insects have not been pinned in place. Rather, using acquaforte etching techniques, these stag beetles were engraved onto metal by the artist. Thus, the Lucanus cervus, so beloved of Albrecht Dürer, who included him at the foot of so many of his own compositions, becomes a ghostly image on the glossy steel sheet, almost a mirror of the surrounding environment.

Like an axe in a tree stump

The metal plates are inserted forcefully into the wood, reminding the viewer of an axe stuck in a tree stump. The finished artwork therefore recalls the cutting down of the tree, making it suitable for the exhibition. Moreover, in the natural world, rather than metal plates, the fissures would have been been home to the larval form of the ultimate stars of the piece. In this way, death gives way once more to life: the stag beetle, frozen motionless into the cold metal sheet, is returned to an environment that would have welcomed him, affording warmth and shelter in the early stages of life.

Tiratura unica

For the etched lines – made using acquaforte etching techniques – the matrix is the final destination, and one that denies the principle of mass production, with which the medium is closely associated. The plates were etched and then inked – once dried, they cannot be used to generate other prints. For the artist’s vision, the logs are lined up in sequence as if to recreate the profile of an enchanted forest, where from their metallic homes, stag beetles, once a symbol of Lucifer, give rise to a harmless play of light.