In the exhibition the viewer encounters an urban garden. Materials such as metal, copper, and plastic function side by side with both living and dying plants, as industrial reminders that testify to a time that pushed knowledge of plants and medicine away from wise women and healers of the past, who in the late Middle Ages passed on free knowledge.
The sculptures and the various objects in the installation reflects on the hidden, as something that is not completely transparent, but shows only a section of the world and history. Something is hidden under the sand or buried under the ground. The show also refers to the structures and mechanisms that move knowledge around from one social group to another.
The title of the show is taken from Hildegard von Bingen’s description of the fern as a healing and protective plant that has a power that is similar to the energy of the sun and lights up everything that is in the dark. In the exhibition ferns are peeking out from under a surface reminding the viewer of lost knowledge. Von Bingen also known as Saint Hildegard and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German Benedictine abbess and polymath active as a writer, composer, philosopher, mystic, visionary, and as a medical writer and practitioner during the High Middle Ages.
In “Similar to the Energy of the Sun”, multidisciplinary artist Amalie Vestergaard Olsen utilizes the en plein air gallery at MLAG to make a unique contribution to MLAG’s 2021 curatorial focus on plant and non phalogocentric ontologies. To a large extent one might see the titular significance as a nod to inventive minds which flourish within dark times. 2021 will be a year marked by the global pandemic. Finding relationships between us and plants has been a source of inspiration for artists. Vestergaard Oslen’s practice works with historical research and aesthetics of icon painting and medieval manuscript. The delicate balance between the liturgical and the ornamental function as a revisionist text. Dark ages then and now, have always had Saint Hidegards and Vestegaards. Vestegaard’s work in the botanical garden amongst the ferns evokes a plea to consider the transformative mystic/artists and plants that have come before us.