Schadensorge is a sculptural installation built for MMX, a non profit art space that existed on Linienstrasse in Berlin 2009-2010. The title is a play with the German word Schadenfreude, to enjoy someone else’s misfortune. I’m suggesting that maybe it’s more appropriate to feel regret, in this case for a nature that will soon exist only in our books, and on the heraldic shields of our towns and counties. The three animals I built for this installation are all black. The bear is baring his teeth, snarling aggressively but remaining in the safe shadows of the bushes. The bison looks resigned, hiding behind a single sapling way to small to shield the massive bulk of his flesh. By comparison the mammoth’s behavior is more bizarre. He has climbed up a small tree and is waving his trunk and tusks defiantly, as if he would be safe as long as he didn’t step down on the ground.
The sculptures were made largely from recycled materials, linking the threat to our co-inhabitants on this planet with our incessant hunger for all of its natural resources. Visitor’s participation is key to the installation, as they are encouraged to themselves take part in the extermination of the last big mammals in Germany. Three toy rifles, sized for grown ups, are available to borrow from the gallery, so that the spectators can become hunters and shot the bear, bison and mammoth with rubber bands. An innocent enough gesture, yet challenging as it allows you to symbolically and emotionally re-enact humanity’s aggressive attitude towards nature.
Schadensorge, Installation, 2010, dimensions variable, mixed materials.
Golden Parachutes in Berlin asked me to build an installation in their gallery for a show with works on paper. I decided, of course, to use the same material, and made a labyrinth out of silk paper glued to a grid of thin strings hanging from the ceiling. The simple geometric structure still created a very organic architecture, as the papers moved and swayed in every light shift of air caused by people walking through it. It had been my belief, and purpose, that the labyrinth should slowly deteriorate over the exhibition as people had to navigate the deliberately narrow twists and turns of the maze, but I was proven wrong. The very fragility of the material must have been so obvious to everyone visiting, that not a single rip or tear appeared over the entire month of the show, despite all the visitors and even the neighbouring kindergarten taking their kids through several times.
PaperLifeGrid, 2010, installation, silk paper and strings, approx 5m x 7m x 3,5m.