The park-like landscape above Lake Walensee that has fascinated artists since the nineteenth century was also the catalyst for Nothing new under the sun (2021) and Stone wearing an ornate teardrop earring (2021), two new works that Loboda unveiled in the exhibition An exhausted Dr. John Dee enjoys the view towards the lake. It was also the setting in which on 21 August 2021 she brought the sixteenth-century English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer and mystic Dr. John Dee back to life.
Dee built one of the most wide-ranging libraries of the Renaissance, studied the laws of nature and corresponded at length with the scholars and the powerful of his age. As court astrologer to Elizabeth I and a learned man of considerable influence, he began to devote more and more of his time to extrasensory phenomena and above all to communication with angels. This led some to suspect him of heresy and black magic. In 1583 he and his family along with the medium Edward Kelley joined the entourage of a Polish nobleman on a trip to Cracow and Bohemia. There he was granted an audience with Emperor Rudolf II in Prague, which owing to the Inquisition he had to flee in a great hurry, returning to England in 1589. The appearance of Dr. John Dee in Amden might at first have seemed like a farce, but it also raised our appreciation of landscape as a cultural domain and a feat of civilization, while at the same time recalling those people whose belief in theosophy, spiritualism and progress, led them to settle in Amden in the early twentieth century. Loboda’s resurrection of Dr. John Dee belongs to a series of performative works in which the sculptress has a controversial historical figure appear as a trompe-l’oeil within one of her own exhibitions.
Maria Loboda, who was born in Cracow and who from 2003–2008 was a student of Mark Leckey at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, has been very much preoccupied with landscape architects and their work in recent years, focusing on American landscape architect James C. Rose for her 2018 show at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, for example, and most recently on the work by British interior designer David Hicks, who created a park for himself with lines of sight that make it look like an extension of his own house.
The exhibition An exhausted Dr. John Dee enjoys the view towards the lake by Maria Loboda let us experience the mountainous landscape above Lake Walensee as a natural space, but at the same time wanted us to apprehend it as a mirror image of our Janus-faced civilization and as an image of another age.
– Roman Kurzmeyer