Kappel am Albis, 04.06.2021

How do you get to the Garden of Paradise ?

The eternal cycle of nature: the Cham artist Andrea Christina Leisinger presents pictures and objects in the Kappel am Albis Monastery

Thoughts of the Garden of Paradise are not far when you stand on the southern terrace of the Kappel am Albis Monastery. It’s not only due to the wonderful view, but also the ambience of the historic place, with its beautiful monastery garden. Cham artist Andrea Christina Leisinger has been inspired by this. The mysterious symbolism of the Garden of Eden is the source of the creative forces that stimulated the artist to create drawings, water colours, collages and objects.

Under the motto "Dein Garten wollt’ ich sein (I wanted to be your garden)", she is currently enlivening some rooms of the monastery: she tells of the gardens in the seasons, with their fruits and plants, of wonderful flowers and plants, and of Paradise. "I have responded to the place," emphasises the artist during a tour that begins at the entrance to the main building. There, you first encounter an arrangement of filigree paradise flowers with fantastic blossoms and grasses. Leisinger explains: "They are collaged, and are made from newspaper."

Picture stories and games
In the reception room, a series of pastel summer meadows enlivens the white walls, and some amusement is provided in the adjoining room, where there is the "Guckparadies (peep-box)" installation with twelve small painted boxes: When you look into them, you can discover pictures of Adam and Eve after the Fall, which originate from different eras.

Andrea Leisinger has a strong connection to the world of plants, which is reflected in her work.
Photo: Stefan Kaiser

Anyone who remembers the biblical story will recognise the meaning of the apple. Andrea Christina Leisinger, who studied at the Zurich University of the Arts and has illustrated numerous publications in addition to her educational work, has created a multi-part picture story as well as the "Apple Question": Was it a love apple, or some other kind of apple? The men and women in other pictures are on the search for Paradise, and these are followed by a quiz with 24 word cards, which stimulate the visitors to contemplation through their active participation.

The "Frutta e Verdura” (fruit and vegetable) picture group, which originates from an ongoing long-term project, can be see in the cafeteria by the exit to the garden. The study sheets are in water colour, and show fruits and medicinal plants. And the installation of the bird tree or tree of life in the cloister, where bird songs can be heard as one approaches, rounds off the diverse exhibition of works.

The theme of the garden is central to them
From here did the impulse for the topic come? "I’ve always had a strong connection to the garden, and paint many plants. When the request for an exhibition came from Kappel am Albis Monastery two years ago, I developed a concept. Coming to terms with the topic of the Paradise Garden was a longer process. I’ve been working on this for a long time, so I ‘m able to show a selection of newer and older works here," says Leisinger. What does Paradise mean to her? She smiles, and says:

"I don't see the topic spiritually, because I'm very realistic. My Paradise is on earth, in the here and now."

Everyone has to do it for themselves. "For me, the topic of the garden is central to my life and my painting. It is also the cycle of nature, with its seasons and growth and fading. Above all, however, we must take care of the environment."

The rooms become a "hortus conclusus"
At the musically framed vernissage on Sunday, fellow artist Giorgio Avanti from Zug introduced Andrea Christina Leisinger's work, and, among other things, said: "During the exhibition, the rooms of Kappel am Albis Monastery are transformed into an enclosed garden, a 'hortus conclusus' (an enclosed garden),in which many magic herbs, flower dreams and the apple of Paradise grow and mature." She is a master in drawing,and works with pigments and creates groups of images, with her technique being the means to create new works.


The exhibition of the new paintings and objects by Andrea Christina Leisinger at Kappel am Albis Monastery runs until 20 August.