POWER ANIMAL ELKE IN THE GYRUS ANGULARIS
I want to talk about Nadja Poppe's drawings. I have been a big fan of her work for a long time and own some of her drawings, which mostly depict animals in landscapes.
I believe that as adults, it is important to have a good amount of spiritual freedom to indulge in our own fantasy worlds, especially when we carry the weight of responsibilities for work, family, and social engagements. Taking it a step further, we can give shape to our imagination and bring it to life. I'm not referring to ideas for developing new businesses, technologies, or projects, but rather being open to the non-real, funny, surreal, non-functioning, nonsensical, or silly aspects. It is through this openness that we can become acquainted with fantastic beings and worlds, whether through paintings, drawings, writings, poems, films, comedy, opera, music, or dance.
For artists, this process is often fundamental. However, as viewers, it can be a great source of inspiration and a reminder of our own potential. It stimulates our imagination, inspiring and animating us, leaving us astonished or amused.
In the case of Nadja Poppe, we encounter drawings featuring fantasy creatures, including a few familiar animals, within a small universe. While Nadja's depictions of cows, horses, sheep, chickens, and donkeys standing in a landscape are relatively recognizable, there are unexpected appearances of for example a lionsheep or an Onoffhorse. The Onoffhorse, for instance, lacks ears and possesses a snout resembling a slender pelican beak. The absence of ears immediately raises questions about how the horse can hear. Perhaps it doesn't possess the sense of hearing but instead relies on another sensory ability? Could it perceive sound waves through its long beak, comprised of numerous small membranes? Additionally, one might wonder about the age of the Onoffhorse. How long does it live within the Onoff universe?
For decades, neuroscientists and psychologists have been trying to understand what exactly goes on in the brain when we let our imagination run wild, and what sets limits to it. Measuring imagination is not easy, partly because imagination outside the context of childhood and art is quickly associated with something pathological. Today, neuro/brain researchers found that creativity, including imagination, occurs in the brain through an exchange between interconnected networks – the medial prefrontal cortex, the posterior cingulate cortex, the angular gyrus, and the hippocampus. These exchanges happen when we daydream, remember something by chance, or even when we recognize strange intentions.
As I flip through Nadja’s delightful little book Slinghander and Alamander, I have a hard time deciding which creatures to mention here. There's a Furry Staber, a Mollemus, a Rain Sheep, or even Rosi Flusch.
Nadja's biography conveys a sense of seriousness. She states, "Form, reduction, and the weight of pictorial elements through sharpness and blurring, light and dark, depth and surface, transparency and agglomeration—these are the most crucial aspects to me." Her exclusive use of black paint, Indian ink, charcoal, and graphite on paper, as well as gouache on canvas, reinforces her artistic approach. Additionally, she employs rain or snow when sketching outdoors en plein air. Consequently, a diverse range of gray tones, areas, lines, and structures emerge, with the eraser becoming an indispensable tool, used as delicately as a pencil.
I am grateful to artists like Nadja Poppe who serve as a reminder that, as adults, we have the ability to create and immerse ourselves in unreal, humorous, surreal, and nonsensical realms. It is truly marvelous when we can uncover a new world that awakens within us, embracing spontaneous and childlike freedom.
I believe it would greatly benefit individuals who tend to be dominated by left-brain thinking to cultivate their own Hunker or Tüxkülzer.
I personally draw Knöfel, which are beings that depict my current state of mind. For a while, they remained nameless. However, my husband possesses a remarkable talent for spontaneously coming up with amusing names for things and situations. When I asked him for a suitable name, he immediately suggested Knöfel. A Knöfel is characterized by two eyes, either in the form of points or slits, a linear mouth, a round belly, and two fin-like arms with two fingers each. Drawing Knöfel puts me in a positive mood and helps me feel a sense of harmony within myself.
The world is brimming with marvels, and despite the terrible events that may occur or the challenging situations we face in life, the inner child within us always remains present. This inner child can sometimes offer valuable assistance during difficult moments. The sheer delight it experiences upon encountering a Crummyquatt or dancing with a Zwirl is immeasurable.
Embracing the Power animal Elke within our hearts, we come to realize that we are both unified and diverse simultaneously. Time sheds its linearity and guides us towards our desired destinations or places we have already visited.
Thank you, Nadja!
Since most of these animals talked about above eat magical wild herbs, I share with you the recipe for my
WILD HERB PESTO
makes about 250 g
250 to 275 g wild herbs of your choosing*
100 g cashew nuts or sunflower seeds
170 ml olive oil (or any fine vegetable oil)
1 garlic clove
juice of ½ to 1 lemon salt and pepper
*in equal parts, at least 4 of the following: dandelion leaves, gout weed, sorrel, English plantain, chickweed,
orache, dead nettles
1. make sure to remove all leaves that are not herbs, such as grass, little sticks or roots (when foraging, it’s perfectly normal to find especially grass growing through your herbs)
2. wash your herbs in a bowl or sink with the plug in; submerge and swirl the herbs in the water with your hands to clean
3. add a good dash of apple vinegar to kill bacteria and let sit for 12 min.
4. strain and using scissors cut into smaller pieces, so they don’t wind themselves
around the blade of your blender
5.in a blender, mix all ingredients at once, until you have a smooth consistency
6. taste and correct seasoning
7. fill clean mason jars with the pesto and keep cool in fridge