The morphology of fish – Amsterdam collection

For her collaboration with Mediamatic, Mandy focused on fish species that can be found in the waters surrounding the Biotoop by 1 kilometer. Local fisherman Piet Ruijter, who is the only traditional fisherman allowed on these waters, provided various fish species.

The specificity of the fish allows the visitor to learn more about the geography and history of this area in Amsterdam. Indeed, most of those fish are species which can only be found in freshwaters, often in estuaries or coastal waters, just like the IJ river and docks. Some of them are also well known as food products, like bream, cod, perch or whiting. They form a part of the local culture, as fish-based courses are very typical in Dutch cuisine and appreciated for their freshness. Therefore those fish can tell a lot about our local culture and history, in addition to what they reveal regarding environmental science, geography and biology.

In her installation ”The morphology of fish- Amsterdam collection” Mandy den Elzen shows a collection of fish gills, displayed in Mediamatic’s Aquaponics greenhouse. She is inspired by morphology and Aristotle’s biology, based on the observation of the physical characteristics of animals. Her work unveils the aesthetic side to an organ that is normally only seen for its function: breathing.

In her art practice, Mandy den Elzen uses pieces of animal bodies and transforms them into artworks. Her aim is to make one overcome the biological function of animal organs, in order to explore their structure and potential beauty.

Text: Mediamatic

Commissioned work, Mediamatic in collaboration with
Fisherman Piet de Ruiter & Martin Melchers

23 displays, 40x30x5cm