- Digital Formats
Plankton cultures, water basins, Ytong blocks, mercury vapour lamps
80 x 80 x 80 cm each
Five white, cube-shaped pedestals, each surmounted by a green cube of the same size, stand in a row. Above each cube hangs a silver lamp, illuminating a cloudy green liquid: plankton. Formally, the structure is reminiscent of a serial sculpture in the tradition of minimalism, and yet the viewer seems rather to be present at a scientifically inspired experiment. Unusual for a museum context, the plankton is alive. The artwork's other materials come not from a traditional art supply shop but from a DIY market. The base is made of commercially available Ytong blocks, the cubes are aquariums of simple glass.
In the early 1990s, the artist Else Gabriel came across two ring binders at a Berlin flea market. She described her find as follows: '192 b/w photocopies of typewritten texts and originally coloured gouaches [...] and some collaged images of animals and newspaper odds and ends. It's about Africa. Don't ask. Buy. Wasn't expensive. 1 DM each.' On another slip of paper, a note: 'Lemonade. From Africa.'
Is this note really the starting point for the work? Green lemonade made from plankton? And why 'From Africa'? 'Plankton', translated from the ancient Greek, means 'wandering, drifting about'. Who is doing the wandering and the drifting? The plankton or the author of the note, or we standing before the shimmering green aquariums? At any rate, the artist doesn't ask questions; she buys, acts, and leaves the resultant work to respond to any enquiries.
'Sometimes no answer comes of a question, especially of a particularly good question, but rather, if you look at the question carefully, only, even so, a better question.' (G. W. F. Hegel)
The artist name (e.) Twin Gabriel stands for the artist couple Else Gabriel and Ulf Wrede. They have been working together since the late 1980s. The subversive investigations of their performances and installations retain the sceptical and ironic attitude that they practiced in the GDR.
The work Lemonade. From Africa and other works by (e.) Twin Gabriel were on view from 2000 - 2008 at the ifa exhibition QUOBO - Art in Berlin 1989-1999.