Nocturnal, 2022

The work ‘Nocturnal’ is a composition of natural elements related to darkness and the nighttime. A sculpture created out of Selenite crystals, inorganic forms that grow extremely slowly in absolute darkness underground and borrow their name from the Ancient Greek Moon Goddess, is surrounded by  nocturnal plants that either bloom or release their sweet fragrance during nighttime. These plants on their turn attract nocturnal life; nocturnal insects, moths and even bats, which feed from them and help them pollinate. A third, cultural, element is added to the composition, in the form of a music box that gets activated after the sun sets; playing Nocturnes, musical pieces that were composed inspired by, or evocative of the night.

Point of departure for this work has been the question of whether darkness is equally necessary as light is for life to exist and thrive. By creating this nocturnal garden, Ntolas aims to create a small nocturnal ecosystem in the heart of the city, which evolves and grows throughout the duration of the exhibition, and which ‘comes to life’ during the dark hours of the daily cycle and thus asks from the audience to briefly turn into ‘nocturnal beings’ if they want to experience the work at its fullest.



Commissioned by Beelden In Leiden, for the public space exhibition ‘Lifeless stars drifting above’ at the Hooglandse Kerkgracht in Leiden, curated by Stephanie Noach.

Duration of exhibition: 19/5-7/8/2022.

Gardening & implementation: Ruben Ris

Special thanks to Hortus Botanicus Leiden and Rogier van Vugt for their invaluable advice and contribution to the project.