Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger are internationally recognized as two of the most successful representatives of the Swiss art scene. The Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck
is presenting them for the first time in Germany in a large solo exhibition. Characteristic of their art are the works they develop for the respective venue, which fill out the spaces with their multitudinous parts, and transport the viewer to bizarre and poetic worlds.
The installation called High Water Drink, Oh Heart, from the Overflow of Time, deals with the specific location of the Arp Museum on the Rhine. The theme of water and the river illuminates the aspect of the river as an artery of life, bearing a great wealth of life forms, and influencing the surrounding landscape, even though it may turn into a destructive and uncontrollable natural catastrophe when high water flooding occurs. The ecological, biological, and civilization phenomena that result from this devastation play just as much a role in the works as does the confrontation between nature and civilization.
Already at the elevator to the new part of the museum, visitors encounter a mysterious, white crystal form, which will grow constantly over the course of the exhibition, appearing as though it is a live being. In this light-flooded building designed by Richard Meier, the installation, steeped in green light, then surrounds the visitor like a dynamic torrent, consisting of diverse parts of plants, branches, driftwood collected on the Rhine, as well as the wastes of civilization- pieces of plastic and styrofoam or everyday objects. High above our heads rises a rich and imaginative cosmos, which ultimately culminates in a video installation that takes up an entire room. Lying on a warmed waterbed, we immerse ourselves into the microbiological world of the Rhine mud. In another part of the exhibition, called the reef, the mighty devastations caused by the high water may be seen in towering museum furnishings jammed into each other, massive tree trunks and rootstocks as well as glass cylinders containing prepared specimens of frogs, snakes and fish. In the middle, a beaver builds his lodge between cast-off computer keyboards, and strange colored crystals slowly but surely overgrow the remains of our fast, multimedia world of work and communication, creating futuristic scenarios.
With their large-scale installations, Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger have created interlocking parallel worlds, which question and probe without moralizing. They encourage us to take a closer look at our life spaces, and discover them anew. The State Secretary for Culture, Walter Schumacher, has stated: High Water is a topic that affects many people in Rhineland-Palatinate. And precisely those affected know how seriously it must be taken. For the first time, the topic is being approached from an artistic standpoint, not in a provocative sense, but in an aesthetic grappling with the theme, which includes ecological and social aspects.