Nut and Brains
By Paolo Bianchi
"Hanging on the tree, the walnut is enclosed in a fleshy green hull that
bursts when it falls
from the tree," noted Monika Pichler. The walnut is a drupe. In literature
the nut/walnut/almond is
used as a symbol for the human being. Then the green hull serves as a symbol
of the flesh, the
hard shell as a symbol of the bones, and the sweet core as a symbol of the soul.
As a symbol of
Christ, the bitter tasting hull embodies the flesh of Christ that suffered the
bitter passion, the
shell the wood of the cross, and the core that nourishes and enables light with
its oil stands for
the divine nature of Christ.
In her work, Monika Pichler (*1961), textile artist from Linz, links nuts and
brains. The fatty acid
contained in walnuts ensures a smooth transmission of nerve impulses in the
brain. Nuts support
the hormone-containing substance prostaglandin the grease for mental
and memory performance.
The nut as a sweet fruit in a hard shell is regarded as a symbol of what is
essential and spiritual,
what is hidden behind the exterior, just as the human nature of Christ hides
his divine nature. In
antiquity the nut/almond was seen as a symbol of pregnancy and fertility, because
of its protected
and hidden core. For this reason, it was scattered at weddings. The edible nut
first has to be
separated from the shell, which is why the nut is also considered a symbol of
patience. The oil
derived from the almond/nut had a phallic significance for the Greeks and was
semen of Zeus.
If Monika Pichler has taken an outward bound path in recent years, to traveling
women like Ida
Pfeiffer or Annemarie Schwarzenbach, this determined exteriority is now followed
by an interiority
that is no less decided. The perspective has changed. Her female figures demanded
look at the story told. With "Nuts & Brains" the viewers themselves
end up in the perspective of
the depiction. The picture of the nut is the brain of the viewer. We observe
the observer in ourselves.
We listen to what is said to us by what we have seen.
With the journeys and books of her divas, Monika Pichler focused the viewers'
what was shown. With "Nuts & Brains" the artist aims at the viewers'
reaction, the sensations
that are triggered by what we see. The motifs and patterns of the "Nuts
& Brains" stimulate our
"memory depots", trigger images in us, open up a scope of movement
that the picture leaves us:
in this is where the "image of the viewer" takes place. The sight
of "Nuts & Brains" is simply
looking without judging. The image of the viewer is generated as a view without
devotion is directed entirely to the life unfolding in the depicted things.
If the majority of fabric designers embrace abstract patterns, the textile
artist Monika Pichler
cultivates a manner of dealing with all that is figurative, which has become
familiarity. With her works on travelling women or the aprons collaged with
looked into the past. Now the "Nuts & Brains" are directed to
© Paolo Bianchi, cultural journalist, Baden/Schweiz, 2004
(from: Monika Pichler, Nüsse und Hirne, Documentation to the exhibtion
Galerie am Stein, Schärding, Austria, 2004)