Findings turn to installations
Nobody can escape being fascinated when encountering neo-archeological savings.
Trivial objects, very often laying around without any connection or meaning relating to the location chosen for exploration, will be re-energized by bringing them together. This can be done by deliberately outlaying and arranging them or by ritualy bundling them. So their triviality turns into something fantsatic, surreal, magical and mystical.
For me the most enthralling findings are rusty and weathered metallic objects like tools or instruments or
household articles – because they underwent the high enregy of fire to become moldable and the high enregy of willpower and craftmanship to be formed for their planned
Depending on whether the objects were found and saved in a derelict urban or rural or industrial environment these
findings will tell different stories.
Location: ZEN House / Lote 7 / Zona 9 / Calle Cocodrilo / Tulum / Mexico
In November 2021 the ZEN House in Tulum was founded. It is the headquarter of the travel agency "EiP tours" who organizes motorcycle tours in Mexico. But one of the founders is the German painter and concept artist Camilla Korte, graduate of the Kunsthochschule Kassel. Her vision is, to change the large courtyard behind the house with the high walls of the adjacent houses into an open air gallery and use it for art events and painting seminars. Because we apprechiate each other's work for several years now, I was honoured to be the first Artist in Residence at the ZEN House to perform one of my neo-archeological savings.
When in a first step I cleaned out the courtyard, filled with heaps of dry leaves and fallen down branches of the trees I uncovered the remains of two fireplaces And in the ashes I found several metal remainings of things burnt there. I collected and assorted them in an old washbowl.
That was all to be found in the limited area of the courtyard. But adjacent to the ZEN house lies a neglected plot, overgrown by the jungle and filled with thrown away garbage. There I expanded my search.
A half rotten drawer I could use as the container for all the small findings. A board in faded blue, maybe part of a closet, I tuned into a stele for the prominent findings
Another smaller blue shelf and a metal structure with the shape of a naive butterfly turned out to be a real challenge: Should as much as possible of the original characteristics remain or would too much originality reduce the artistic expression when turning it into another neo-archeological stele?
To be honest: I had to leave the small stele in a not really satisfying status ...
Location: Fahrig 2 / Baierbach / Bavaria / Germany
The southern part of Lower Bavaria, especially the region between the rivers Isar/Donau and the Austrian border, is characterized by a great number of abandoned old farms und empty buildings in the villages and small towns.
The impressive farmstead named Fahrig 2 near the village Baierbach is the perfect example for this situation. Built in the year 1846 the farmstead consists of the main residential building, two big stables, a hugh barn plus workshops, garages and an outhouse dating even further back than the other structures. The enclosure is under monumental protection, was sold last year and soon will face mayor restoration.
Although the farm is out of use for many years, the residential building was rented out to non-farming tenants – who destroyed all the old structures in the house, replacing them by tasteless modernizations. Only the barn, the workshops and the attic of the outhouse remained untouched – comprising an impressive amount of findings.
In the course of a first neo-archeological saving in one of the workshops two old storage boxes containing out of use tools were saved in their original state and displayed on an old work bench with only a few more findings added. The ensemble was perfected with a third box containing a systematical layout of metal findings.
In the vault of the old outhouse an impressive triptychon of findings was installed.
Location: Building # 68 / on main road Gorden-Staupitz / Brandenburg / Germany
In the east of Germany, in the villages of former GDR many abandoned residential houses or small industrial sites can be found. A very good example was the abandoned building number 68 at the main road of the village Gorden, part of the local community Gorden-Staupitz in the so called Elbe-Elster-Kreis in the state of Brandenburg
A big heap of rubble in the backyard and many ready to be transported away useless objects offered a situation of rich findings.
The rooms of the abandoned house were knee deep filled with garbage. Garbage of paper, plastic, organic waste and torn clothes for sure consists of the remains of human activities but it represents the atrocities of human activities: Inconsiderately and thoughtlessly throwing away things. To be honest – nothing in the rooms of the building was worth saving.
Again rusty metallic objects most of them of cryptic use turned to to be the only findings worth saving.
So on an old door leaf as a carrier medium I arranged my neo-archeological findings as a documentation the situation. Due to the lack of time on site I could not fix the findings to a stable arrangement but had to leave them in their unstable state.
Location: Hara Art-Gallery / Skala Eresou / Lesbos / Griechenland
This year an unusual setting was waiting for me at Lesvos island, where I am a regular. In Skala Eresou, the old fishing harbour of Eresos village now a vivid tourist place, two entrepreneurs had opened the stylish "Hara Beach Bar" and planned to turn the upper floor into an art-gallery. I was asked to be one of the artists to contribute to the opening exhibition.
So instead of taking the normal neo-archeological approach, first focussing on an exactly chosen location and then see which findings the could be saved, I focussed now on the result, on the best possible quality of the arranged findings for the exhibition. Therefore I made the whole village of Eresos the location of my savings.
In addition to that, as another artist of the opening exhibition, Katell Gélébart arrived on the island, internationally renowned eco-designer, with whom I had worked together already in 2020. And again a very productive co-operation began especially by exchanging our findings: In an abandoned house I saved an old dictionary that dated from 1898 wich turned out to become Katell's masterpiece of the exhibition – telling a phantastic story in pictured haikus by using every single page for an ongoing collage. A rusty metal ladder found by Katell at roadside in a garbage place turned out to become my masterpiece – intensifying it with an overload of rough findings into a surreal stele.
Location: Tulsayab / Quintana Roo / Mexico
The small penninsula of Tulsayab is located about 25 kilometers north of the very busy and touristy seaside-town Tulum in the state Quintana Roo of Mexico. Because at Tulsayab the beach is narrow and stony no mayor touristic development has taken place.
The local conditioins are very special: An unpaved road follows the coastline. On the side facing the sea only a
narrow stretch of land has been cultivated with one row of private villas or small appartement houses. On the side facing inland a dense mangrove jungle begins.
Sad to say that at that curbside a lot of waste has been thrown into the trees. But at two locations the garbage was not only household waste but a heep of rubble of demolished old buildings being replaced by new constructions.
Every saving basically begins without a plan, because it totally depends on the quality of findings on the spot. And sometimes it needs several attempts before a satisfying identity of the saving is found.
In the case of Tulsayab the building rubble was interspersed with a great amount of rusty filaments and wires – and these were correspondent to there former use bent, curved, knotted, burled, woven, twisted, wrapped an rolled.
So the saving concentrated on these various peaces of wire – and my neo-archeological arrangement on a 2 meters high stele celebrates this richness and wealth of forms.
And: The exquisite art-hotel "Casa Luna" has aqcuired this stele as a showpiece for its specially designed
Location: Bärnau / Upper Palatinate / Germany
In the small town called Bärnau in Upper Palatinate close to the chzech border at the market place an old house
can be found, abandoned since 30 years. The local people call it "Zintl Haus". It is one of the oldest buildings in town with a history dating back until late mediaeval
To save it from final dilapidation a group of enthusiasts founded an association called "Ackerbürgerhaus Bärnau e.V." Their plan is to rehabilitate the building and use it as a location of creativity events, museum, cultural activities and most of all as a private brewery.
In October 2020 the situation was: The rooms of the building were decluttered already and the skilled workers of the association started to remove the timber pilings of the floors to see, what kind of old structures could be found underneath. They found, that the interspaces between the pilings and the supporting beams were filled with broken household chattels.
The very interesting aspect: An astonishingly major part of this spoilage consists of broken china and bottles. And these bottles are not, as one may presume, beer or wine bottles but small bottles of manifold sizes, colors, designs and labelings that prove, that these bottles contained medicine or healing potations.
To interest the local enthusiasts in my method, I performed a two hour long inspection plus saving plus neo-archeological arrangement of the findings. The arrangements were left in one of the rooms for further evaluation.
Location: Zichlionta Beach / Levos Island / Greece
Zichlionta is a remote and rarely visited beach in the sparsely populated harsh north-west of
the island, about two miles off the old rural road linking the villages of Eresos and Sigri. As so many other beaches Zichlionta as a find spot is a
border area presenting both washed up floatsam from the sea and residues of human usage of the hinterland.
The specific feature:
This saving was carried out as a collaboration with the internationally respected French eco-campaigner and
award-winning upcycle-designer Katell Gélébart. That means, two parallel savings with two different approaches were undertaken. First phase was collecting all objects, the beach offered without
any preselction. Only after that decision was made for phase two, how to organize the findings.
Katell Gélébart deceided to solely concentrate on wooden findings. In a first step she lumped togehter wooden
findings according to their characteristics: Man made wood pieces, burnt wood, drifted wood, rusted wood, painted wood, bark wood, insect pierced wood, roots and twistet wood. I a second step she
arranged this sortations in a deliberately performed outlying on the beach.
I deceided to follow my method of neo-archeological saving and chose objects with a much wider focus: Metal,
bones, glass, wood. In a first step I arranged this objects in six outlayings on the beach. In a second step I compacted findings from the outlayings to two steles which I erected at the
Both our artworks where left at the beach
Final remark: All the washed up plastic objects on the beach lacked of any fascination or magic, so we did not use
Location: Outside Aschheim Village / Bavaria / Germany
In the south-west of Aschheim, a village close to Munich, a abandoned railway line can be found. The line of rails and the railroad ties have disappeared completely about 30 years ago but the crushed rocks marking the one-time course are still there. Close to the modern drive-in-cinema of Aschheim a side road crosses the old railway line over a brick-built bridge. This location was chosen for investigation and exploration.
As so often on first sight nothing could discovered except a few pieces of broken glass. But bit by bit between the crushed rocks more and more objects like rusty metal items or bottlenecks or rags could be found. The metal pieces all were very rotten after being on the ground for many years.
One remarkable feature about this metal objects was, that they all had been part of cans. This could be an evidence that homeless people had used the bridge as a campground and shelter, where they lit fires, opened cans of food, heated them and threw them away after emptying.
All the findings were laid out as found and then compacted in a neo-archeologic arrangement on a wooden board found close to the bridge as well. This ensemble was left close to the bridge as arranged.
Location: Ballytrent House / Rosslare Harbour / Co. Wexford / Ireland
Ballytrent House is a 280 year old victorian Manorhouse overlooking the south-east coast of Ireland. And it offers
a remarkable feature: The beutifuly designed garden beside the house is surrounded by two circular mounds about three meters high each. These two earth walls date back to Bronze Age, when they
marked a well fortified stronghold – called "Rath" in Ireland.
In modern times inside the garden just by the wall greenhouses were errected an a gardener provide the people of Ballytrent House with flowers and vegetable particularly. These greenhouses are derelict today, only their fundamants left. But one remain in good condition is a small workshop. And this workshop is well filled with old gardening tools of all kind – rusty, dusty, moldy. Never used since decades.
The most interesting findings were saved, only a litle cleaned if necessary and then in front of the workshop laid out in three arangements. After that these arrangements were given back to the workshop.
Location: Eresos Village / Lesvos Island / Greece
Eresos is one of the only three a long way from each other villages in the rigid north-west of the island. The
environment comprises only dry grazing land for sheep and goats. One characteristic trait of this area: Many abandoned small farmhouses – some of them right at the outskirts of
Three houses were chosen as locations for examination = house 1, house 2, house 3. Because these houses laid in total decay or were locked and therefore inaccessible the main attention was focussed on the direct surroundings. What could be found there?
Because only outside findings coud be saved, they showed more examples of the wild natural character of the
environment and less of the traditional lifestyle of the people having lived there. That means a lot of bones and skulls and only a few tools or other material like metal
In a first step the findings were sorted according to their material quality. In a second step the findings were
arrangend and laid-out according to their sources = house 1, house 2 and house 3.
After the arrangement and lay-out were performed, the three arrangements were displaid on a wall at the northern outskirt of Eresos and in this way given back to open space.
Locations: Esslingen and Plochingen / Baden-Wurttemberg / Germany
For genereations the "stückle" or the "gütle" were essential part of the local culture in Swabia, a part of the
German Federal Land of Baden-Württemberg. Till a generation ago these very small plots of land close to the cities were intensively cultivated to provide the people with fruits and vegetables.
But times have changed.
Today more and more of the "stückles" were used as gardens for leisure time. And quite a lot of them – especially
those located at steep slopes – lie unused. The plots imbrute, the small cottages decay. Evidence of a gone by way of life. A local phenomenon looses its original appearance or perishes. Savings
in these locations are most important .
Because about a dozen inspectons were carried out in the "stückles" the amount of findings was very high and exemplarily multifaceted
Locations: Leitzach Creek / Bavaria / Germany and Taliagmento River / Friuli / Italy
The Situation at Leitzach:
This was an experiment of radical reduction: What kind of objects could be found on a small gravel plot only
exposed becaus of the low level of water in the summer? On first sight – nothing. But the more attention and concentration became intense the more the more findings appeared. Length of the gravel
plot: 11,80 meters. Wide of the gravel plot: 3,80 meters max. Time duration of examination: 90 minutes.
The Situation at Taliagmento:
The Taliagmento River in the departement Friuli in the mountainous noth-east of Italy is said to be on of the only
three rivers in Europe running from its well high up in the Alpes to its estuary in to the Adriatic Sea in an all natural state. No riverbanks, no dams, no straightening or dredging for easiy
shipping. In summer the river bed is a gravel field hundreds of meters wide with most of the waters running subsurface.
On first sight only millions and millions of sanded round pebbles in thousands of colours and patterns sprawled
was all the location of examniation featured. In addition to that a few water-beaten pale tree trunks. No traces of any human residues. It took 30 minutes to find the forst rusted piece of metal.
No evidence what it was used for. Even an hour of intense searching later the pickings were very few. I welcomed this "minor success" because it showed how undestryed and unmessy the Taliagmento
River still is.
Locations: Germany / India / USA / Ireland /Morocco
Often unexpectedly situations of findings occur without any previous planning of exploration and saving. Just while being under way in the daily routine as well as while traveling exotic realms the practiced eye will focus on objects worth picking up. Mostly the actual situation doesn't allow systematic saving and neo-archeological arranging of these objects. But by gathering these random objects piece by piece and arrange or bundle them in a second step at a later date an impressive collection is generated.