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Wall full of 'cuddly' fungi in ARTIS-Micropia

– May 31, 2021

ARTIS-Micropia reopens from June 5 and this month presents its largest art object to date: The Fungal Wall. Especially for the world's only microbe museum, artist Lizan Freijsen designed a wall composition of hand-tufted, woolen carpets, inspired by the beauty of the invisible life around us. The colorful patterns of these 'pettable' fungi symbolize the growth and symbiosis between different fungi and in lichens. The Fungal Wall operates at the intersection of art, science and design and will be a permanent part of the museum's display.

"Especially at this time, it is important that a positive light be shone on the relationship between humans and microbes. After all, without microbes we humans would not exist. Lizan Freijsen takes our attempt to banish fungi from our daily environment as a starting point for her artistic work. By transforming them into art, she visualizes their beauty. With The Fungal Wall, Micropia brings science and art together, and we hope that visitors will be even more amazed by the invisible, but indispensable life around us", says Jasper Buikx -microbiologist and head of Micropia.

Artist Lizan Freijsen worked on the enormous wall composition for 1.5 years. "The location of Micropia is the perfect environment for my work. The fungal carpets really come home to roost here. Coming down the stairs gives the visitor a special perspective on the 'universe' of microbes that has become The Fungal Wall. We want to introduce people to the world of textiles, science and art. The creation and exchange between these disciplines is recorded in short films in an exceptional way. By providing insight into the growth and production processes, we hope to make an important contribution to the appreciation and imagination of these wonderful micro-organisms."

The process of fungal growth and handtufting in pictures

The Fungal Wall was made financially possible thanks to contributions from the Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie.  The tapestries were created through intensive collaboration between the TextielLab of Textielmuseum Tilburg, Tapetes Beiriz in North Portugal, Micropia, and Lizan's own studio in Rotterdam. The making process of The Fungal Wall has been recorded in a mini-documentary by Marieke van der Lippe. The growth process of fungi is also visualized in short timelapses by Wim van Egmond. This mini-documentary can be seen in Micropia from 17 June onwards.

A safe and carefree visit

Just like last year, the necessary measures have been taken to ensure a safe and carefree visit to Micropia. Visitors reserve their tickets and start time via the website and a maximum number of visitors applies to avoid crowds in the museum. Clear walking routes with one-way traffic are marked in the museum to guarantee the 1.5 meters distance from other visitors and staff. Various hygiene measures have been taken, such as the availability of disinfectants in several places and frequent cleaning of the exhibits.