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Aquarium (en)

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Room installation within the rooms of chartered accountants company KPMG, Essen
May - Oktober 2000

Carola Schneider: Art in a Glass House - On the project 'Aquarium'

In one of the office rooms, Karl-Heinz Mauermann has installed a kinetic work that transforms the room into an aquarium without any water and, moreover, makes it unusable: 10 gold fish of different sizes are suspended, by thick nylon threads, from motor-controlled fixed wheels fastened to the ceiling. Via a connecting-rod these threads are moved up and down, thus lifting and lowering the fish.  Illusionist effects, however, are not the intention of the artist: the movement of the fish is unnatural and mechanical, the motors, the time regulators as well as the technical apparatus are openly visible, just as, for insiders, the structures of a company become transparent within a short period of time. Although the fish consist of different raw materials (wood, Styrofoam and plastic), their identical gold lacquer finish at the same time refines and uniforms them. Their puppet-like suspension deprives the fish of the possibility of natural movement. Any likeness to actually existing structures is not out of the question. Loosely quoting Adorno, we’re laughing about there not being anything to laugh about.