Interview with “Wine” Priest Hans Denk
When asked about nature and when contemplating a selection of drawings by Cornelia Mohr (which immediately reveal her humoristic and affectionate approach to the subject), I would first like to refer my readers to the blossoming garden:
“We are not on this earth to keep a museum, but to tend to a blossoming garden teeming with life.”
These encouraging words were uttered by the blessed Pope John XXIII and what he meant by them was that nature and the human existence are highly complex and mysterious. It is not possible to approach life with a purely analytical mind – like a boy who dismantles a car and in the end is left with only a heap of metal. It is not enough to classify nature according to Newton’s worldview, to divide everything into categories and boxes and to submit only to the laws of physics and chemistry.
For behind the creation lies a spiritual principle – how one likes to call it, is a different matter, one might call it God – which opens up a completely new worldview in all areas and disciplines. This holistic approach to life is a prerequisite to understanding nature. While the analytical understanding does constitute one kind of approach to nature, it is an incomplete and unsatisfactory one – for it lacks soul.
I am reminded of a wonderful quote by Saint-Exupéry from his work “The Little Prince”:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”.
With this immensely powerful and at the same time comforting saying, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry invites us not only to approach nature in an honest and whole-hearted way, but he also warns us about being too superficial, telling us that we must not look down on nature but meet her on an equal footing.
Those who are indifferent to nature or even try to subject her to their rules, as is often the case in our modern exploitative and capitalistic world, who in their megalomania and greed cast aside all respect for nature, will in the end also cease to matter.
The order of the day, therefore, is to go “back to our roots”. We are part of nature and have to consider ourselves equal to her. This could be our salvation. For appreciating nature is the best way of gaining access to life and to God.
When contemplating the works of Cornelia Mohr, these hugely imaginative drawings, paintings and objects, her affectionate approach to nature becomes immediately apparent. She is among those people who have a special relationship with nature and who do not seek to place themselves above the creation. Instead, she opens our eyes to the beauty of nature, rather like the great nature preacher Francis of Assisi with his beautiful prayer eulogising the beauty of the creation “Song of the Sun”, in which he lauds Brother Sun and Sister Moon!
Hugging a tree or observing wild flowers from underneath provides wonderful experiences to man. Experiments have shown that if vines are played music by Mozart they yield particularly splendid grapes, and that cows respond to classical music by producing more milk. It is common knowledge that plants grow better if they are tended to affectionately. Everything that is met with love thrives.
It should become second nature to us to respect our environment and see ourselves as part of the creation – and to act accordingly.
Cornelia Mohr’s art draws our attention to the magnificent splendour of nature and makes us want to preserve it. What a great ambition!
Her sly humour, her coquettish and affectionate, heart-felt and honest approach as well as her awareness that everything in the world and in life is interconnected will help her to create her very own “Song of the Sun”.
Her works represent hope and provide great comfort in a world full of question marks.
“Wine” Priest Hans Denk
Albrechtsberg, Waldviertel, 2013
The Blossoming Garden