It began in the early 1860s and as a student in Berlin when German botanist, Carl Ignaz Leopold Kny (1841-1916), started collecting algae samples from southern Europe for his studies. His biological tastes changed over time and he moved on. His specialist subject, and the one he would become famous for, was the minute study of the morphology of fungi (mushrooms) and cryptograms (ferns). For over 37 years, between 1874 and 1911, Kny worked on his Botanische Wandtafeln, a series of 120 botanical wall charts now renowned (amongst mushroom and fern botanists) for their insane detail.
Accompanied with a 554-page textbook for explanatory purposes. Kny’s wall charts were widely used in classrooms long after his death, expanding the minds of countless students. They are still revered today, and are housed in several different museum archives.
The very spirit of mushrooms and ferns exists within Kny’s expansive work, calming and yet wild. The organisms are deconstructed for us, explained to us, their essence made visible in a way we can feel, if not understand. An abstract work that we know instinctively speaks the truth. The art of science.