With Energy: Employees as Artists

Leonie Blumeby Leonie Blume (guest post), , 0 Comments

Kassel is in the throws of art fever. dOCUMENTA (13) is in full swing and has transformed Kassel into an art metropolis for 100 days. This energy has even spilled over to some of our employees. Over 30 SMA employees took part in four workshops, lead by artists, to create their very own artwork. The motto: Energy ≠ Art. The results weren’t bad. We took a peek over the shoulders of these “artists” as they worked.


Andreas Stefanovic, together with five colleagues, took part in the “On/Off” workshop lead by artists Katharina Wenderoth and Katinka Lotz. The workshop worked with “light”. By using fluorescent material, the idea was to create installations that could be changed by using light. This meant that amidst all the wires, styrofoam and tape, the light switch was an essential element. You could only see your “true” work of art once the lights were off. And so, these SMA employees taped, cut, bent, wrapped and painted diligently, allowing their creativity to run free.

The Blind Queen

Andreas tinkers his own blind queen.

Andy created “The Blind Queen.” He wrote me this about his “masterpiece:” “I started to create without any real plan. The idea of a bright little person soon came to me. Some are likely thinking ‘oh how creative.’ I thought the same at first, but due to the tight time frame of only four hours, I just went with it. The little person quickly evolved into a woman. I decided on neon yellow for the main color, and as best as I could with my limited craftsmanship, I hurried to create an elegant woman. She was so fine that I decided to make her a little crown out of orange wire at the end. And while she might have been nice to look at, my barely-there sense for modern art was certainly not on display… so I gave her a black blindfold. And if THAT isn’t art, then I don’t know what is.” Me neither. Well done, Andi


SMA Employees at the d13 “Mobile” Workshop

“Things the world doesn’t need” were given a second chance at the “Recycling-Mobilé” workshop lead by Iris Hollstein. There the focus was on process of restructuring that certainly required energy.“It’s amazing what all you can do with seemingly useless stuff,” said Julia Endt who participated in and thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. The mobilés were made using recovered objects made out of metal, plastic, wood and glass. “Basically trash, which then becomes part of a completely balanced system suspended in the air,” Julia added.

Colorless with Color

Everything is allowed, even painting over something. The works of art created in the “Colorless with Color” workshop with Nora von der Decken were all made without being able to see what you were doing. Annette Barth described working with the colorless oil chalks and color powders as “an extremely suspenseful process.” “The results are great,” said Barth. “It will be difficult for me to part with the picture,” as the created works will be displayed during the SMA employee festival and auctioned off for a good cause. However, Annette will still have the opportunity to bid on it herself.

Prehistoric Money

The last workshop dealt with making individual coins. Single images and symbols served as patterns for the table-tennis-sized copper discs. “It was amazing how much preparation and time it took just to create a draft,” said Bärbel Berger. The head artist of the workshop, Milen Krastev, explained that “the energy input starts to shine during the development process.”

An Experiment Proved Successful

The response to the art initiative was very positive. “It’s great that SMA enables such things,” said Johanna Opolka from Service. “It’s nice to do something completely different to what you normally do.” Now we’re anxious to see what her colleagues say once her works are displayed during the employee festival in mid-August.

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