The name says it: in the project initiated by artist Bettina Thierig, 12 artists and 12 companies form a team. The project aims to create sustainable partnerships between business and arts. The artists create sculptures according to their own artistic ideas, using the raw materials and materials available in the companies.
This is not an easy task in a company which produces medical laboratory diagnostic products, admits Anke Müffelmann. She has been working as a self-employed ceramics artist, curator and project initiator in the art scene of Schleswig-Holstein for more than 20 years. She started working with ceramics during a year abroad in Portugal. Now, Anke Müffelmann has cooperated with EUROIMMUN for the “KunstBetriebe“ project.
“As an artist, I observe and describe things, but I don’t judge” says Anke Müffelmann. “When I stumble over anything interesting to me, I try to describe it by my own means”. Before this can happen, these means must first be “discovered”. The artist spent several days at the company sites in Dassow and Lübeck, chatted to the employees and let herself be inspired.
“I have observed carefully and gained a good insight into the company and its work. I might not have yet completely understood the system behind it, but I can see it is a functioning system”, she says, laughing.
She included this observation into her work and chose granite as her material. From this stone, plinths were made which carry different ceramic objects. EUROIMMUN produced the plinths according to the artist’s specifications. “I have chosen this material since it is used in all branches of the company, even abroad”, explains Anke Müffelmann. “This material is easily recognisable, similar to the furniture of a hotel. No matter where I am, I always find the same materials. This gives you a feeling of home, but can be a bit confusing at the same time since you end up asking where on earth you just are”. A further aspect of identification is the laboratory coats which were modified by changing their latex structure, adds Anke Müffelmann.
Her 6 ceramic objects are based on her own neuro mosaic. She was interested in the biochips and the structures used, explains the artist. Therefore, she developed the self-portrait as a concept and uses the “images“ of her blood in her work. “Dealing with healthiness and illness was quite challenging” admits Anke Müffelmann “because hypothetically, a severe disease could be diagnosed. I felt touched by the fact that this actually stays invisible to some extent. It was important to her to show this process of change, which first remains invisible to the eye, and to make it palpable. She amplified and modified the images of her tissue structures photographically, transforming them into three dimensional ceramic surfaces, and thus gave them a special feel. The latex skins are combined to an aperiodic, “growing” mosaic and thus turned into a skin-like surface for the six-part sequence of ceramic sculptures. Each of the six objects has different surface structures and therefore shows the transformation process in its very own duration. “The state between healthiness and illness, this is what I want to show symbolically”. The combination of latex and ceramics is also due to the conditions. “I couldn’t possibly bring clay into the lab” says Anke Müffelmann, laughingly. Another reason is that ceramics always leave marks. If you buried the sculptures and dug them up after thousands of years, the basis would still look the same.
The work with the laboratory coats also means a lot to her. “At EUROIMMUN, the coat shows your belonging. It shows whether you are “internal” or “external”. When she puts on the coat, her work corresponds to a self-portrait, a confrontation with herself, explains Anke Müffelmann.
She found it a special challenge and especially interesting to use the existing system for cooperation and for exchange. “It is amazing how people here supported me”, says the artist, happily. Axel Blankenburg, member of the board, Business Division Finance, adds: “I admire Anke Müffelmann’s creativity”.
The project terminates with three closing expositions, which will be included in a catalogue. An exposition is planned for autumn 2016 in the St. Anne’s Museum Quarter, Lübeck. Further exposition sites in 2016 are the State Garden Show in Eutin, and towards the end of 2016, the Marstall Gallery in Ahrensburg.
This special project idea is supported by the foundations Sparkasse Holstein gGmbH, Foundation of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Lübeck “Pro Economia” and Possehl foundation.
About the artist
Anke Müffelmann, born 1963 in Hamburg, studied Fine Arts and Ceramics at the Muthesius University Kiel, Germany and the University of Porto, Portugal (Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto) and European Anthropology, History of Arts and Linguistics at the Christian-Albrecht University, Kiel. She lives and works in Kiel.