Charlotte Eta Mumm

– Verlies (Loss) 2023

To Charlotte Eta Mumm it is important to create a garden in Watou that acts as a place to contemplate loss. That makes her one of the participating artists with a special attention to and connection with the earth and nature.

For Mumm there is always an interaction with nature where thoughts have free reign and the grieving process can proceed at its own pace. This way gardens can offer an environment to deal with grief and loss. For instance, by standing in wonder at the beauty of modest yet important aspects of life, such as digging in the earth with your hands or by observing the extraordinary beauty and growth of plant life. This makes it possible to conduct an inner dialogue, to find yourself and escape unwanted vicious thoughts.

Mumm’s semi-permanent garden for the inhabitants of Watou or the festival visitors is an inviting place to spend some time and rest. Specific grasses, fast-growing and flowering perennials and annual flowers are sown around an installation of seating sculptures.

The adjoining shed offers a writing place for visitors. Here memories, streams of thought, fragments or letters in memory of loved ones can be written to give them a place, literally and figuratively. The Gerry Loose poem on the windows creates a symbolic connection between the inner and outer world. Here, too, finding peace and quiet, forgetting time and finding oneself take centre stage. The fascination for nature and what it produces can help to ground oneself or give loss a place without (social) expectations or accountability. Visitors can either take home what they write in this scriptorium of sorts – or in the garden – or they can safely deposit it in a slot of one of the seating sculptures.

The title ‘Verlies’ has a dual meaning. In Dutch it means losing something or someone. In German it is a dark and enclosed space, such as a dungeon. In this case the garden provides an open and life-embracing place so that ‘loss’ eventually becomes synonymous with ‘growth’.

In the garden you’ll find: Allium sphaerocephalon, Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’, Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’, Salvia nemorosa ‘Mainacht’, Amsonia tabernaemontana and hubrichtii, Phlomis russeliana and tuberosa, Verbena bonariensis, Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’, Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’, Stipa gigantea, Sesleria autumnalis, Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’ as well as various seeds.

1980, DE

Foto: Stefan Ruissen

Her work is about ambivalences and tangibility. She works with multiple means of expressions and materials. It isn’t about the material per se but rather about the transformation and entitative qualities. Mumm’s work has been both exhibited and awarded internationally.

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