noli me tangere II noli me tangere II

Elisabeth Eberle2013/2013

U.S. Embassy in Switzerland and Lichtenstein

U.S. Embassy in Switzerland and Lichtenstein
Bern, Switzerland

The work from my forbidden fruit series noli me tangere II plays with the term “nature” and with digital production methods, even if it seems to be a classical sculpture. It is a digitally enlarged fruit of a Magnolia tree, nature lifted on a pedestal. Additionally, the graphite coat seduces people to touch the object. They get black fingers, dirty hands (“les mains sales”) if they do not follow the instruction not to touch the object (noli me tangere). Noli me tangere is also the name of a plant with fruits that explode when touched.

I am interested in the issues that are raised when apparently “natural” objects are synthetically constructed, blurring the boundaries between these two culturally determined labels. Other areas of our lives are also involved in this global process. My work as an artist calls upon my scientific training, during which I became aware of the importance of drawing in order to understand histological and botanic structures. I work with man-made and natural objects encountered in everyday life, analyzing and reworking them until their original condition – natural, artificial or digital – is brought into question. By dismantling conventional categories that were established by the baroque Wunderkammer, or “Cabinet of Curiosities,” the divide between the organic and the synthetic collapses. For a long time, I have been dealing with the dialectic between the natural and the artificial. My drawings are made with a plotter, the sculptures are produced with digital methods (here: milled from oak wood) after a manually operated skinning processes. Both digital processes are technically related, distinguished only by one spatial dimension.

Elisabeth Eberle is a Canada born Swiss artist with a Masters degree in pharmaceutical sciences from ETH Zurich, living and working in Zurich. Her art was exhibited worldwide such as in The Drawing Center, New York and foundation Kloster Schönthal near Basel. She was recognized and funded by the Esther Matossi foundation and The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.


  • Title: noli me tangere II noli me tangere II
  • Creator: Elisabeth Eberle, Elisabeth Eberle
  • Date Created: 2012/2013, 2013/2013
  • Physical Location: U.S. Embassy Bern, U.S. Embassy Bern
  • Provenance: Courtesy of the artist
  • Type: Sculpture, Sculpture
  • Rights: U.S. Embassy Bern, U.S. Embassy Bern
  • Medium: Oak wood, graphite, ball pen on vellum, Oak wood, graphite

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