MANDRAGORA This line etching is inspired by the Hortus Sanitatis (also written Ortus; Latin for The Garden of Health), a Latin natural history encyclopaedia, which was published by Jacob Meydenbach in Mainz, Germany in 1491. It describes species in the natural world along with their medicinal uses and modes of preparation. It followed the Latin Herbarius moguntinus (1484) and the German Gart der Gesundheit (1485), that Peter Schöffer had published in Mainz. Unlike these earlier works, besides dealing with herbs, the Hortus Sanitatis deals with animals, birds, fish and stones too. Moreover the author does not restrict himself to dealing only with real creatures, but also includes accounts of mythical animals such as the dragon, harpy, hydra, myrmecoleon, phoenix and the zitiron.
ABOUT TOTEM The motivic world of Cathrine Raben Davidsen is populated with human figures, animals and plants. In the paintings, one can glimpse human faces and bodies emerging from the saturated colour field surfaces. In the drawings and prints, one encounters shadowy images of floating bodies, owls, deer, whales, and jellyfish move around in fluid, formless spaces, seemingly in constant flux - in a state of dissolution towards a new dimension. By portraying this mix of living organisms inside a fluid space, Raben Davidsen explores the organic synthesis of humans, animals and the cosmos.
A core theme of Cathrine Raben Davidsen’s practice is a strong interest in mankind’s relationship with nature and our understanding of the spiritual world. In particular she sees the concept of transformation as an omnipresent precondition of humanity – a continuum that connects us with our surrounding environments.
The title Totem stems from ancient traditions in cultural history and religion such as animism and totemism. These are belief systems practiced by indigenous peoples that consider the connection between culture, nature and the cosmos as holistic. Animism is the belief that everything in nature, both the organic and the inorganic, has a soul in the same way as human beings. Among the animistic believers, a totem is an object, subject or place of worship that aims to gather and strengthen the group’s identity and cohesion. A totem can be either a tree, an animal, a mountain or a river. By exploring various elements of the spirituality and mythology and embedding these notions within her own work, Raben Davidsen asks how we can view and re-appreciate the meaning of these ancient traditions and belief systems anew.
Watch the TOTEM film - a portrait of Cathrine Raben Davidsen - by Alex Archimbaud for Royal Copenhagen here To view full portfolio with available etchings for purchase please contact: CRD Studio Learn more about the exhibition Totem Totem Website