The second episode of our podcast Listening to Art is dedicated to the work of Cologne-based artist Silke Schatz (b. 1967). Her exhibition Vanishing point is currently running at our Berlin gallery and will remain on view until 2 March 2024.
For this episode, Silke Schatz met Rita Kersting, Curator and Deputy Director of Museum Ludwig Cologne, for a walk in the village of Manheim, near the Hambach open-cast mine.
Since August 2021, Schatz has been visiting Manheim (a roughly half-hour train journey from her home in Cologne) once a week to conduct her artistic field research. Manheim will be the last place in Germany in the history of lignite mining to be excavated.
When the artist talks about her work in this village, with its 1,000 years of history, one quickly realises how existential her preoccupation with this place is – and the question of how the massive intervention that open-cast mining is, and what it means for nature, in particular, but also for people, can be depicted at all. When Schatz is in Manheim, she makes cyanotypes of the plants, takes photographs and sound recordings, sculpts traces of urban structures and tree bark in clay, organises walks and picks apples and pears to make jam and juice, thereby creating an archive of a place that is disappearing.
In the podcast, Schatz and Kersting talk about her work on site and also discuss why, for the artist, Manheim is a focal point for the major problems of our present day as they relate to climate change and our relationship with nature. They debate how Schatz came to do this research, activism, the pull of Manheim, ruderal vegetation, Brueghel and the racing driver Michael Schumacher.
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