The detail from a laboratory worktop with shining white tiles and blackish-grey grouting, shown in artful lighting, opens up a visual space where, amongst other things, a microscope, a pipette and a cold-light source with a two-arm light guide become actors under the artist’s vision control and mise-en-scène. Three lambda prints of each piece of equipment, measuring 100 x 80 cm and flush mounted on aluminum panels, show one front view and two lateral views. The equipment shapes, strange to the layperson’s eye, exude strong visual power due to the way in which they are staged, and seem in a way reminiscent of sculptures. The instruments selected are the silent witnesses of a highly dynamic field of knowledge where the aids and appliances of today will be gone tomorrow, to be replaced by more efficient and powerful successors.
By concentrating on laboratory equipment which normally goes unnoticed in a scientific environment, the artist traces the interaction between the material culture of the laboratory and the production of scientific insights. In this context, the practice of observing, measuring and experimenting, organized both in terms of material and theory, as well as the relationship between experiential knowledge and the actors involved in experiencing are of special interest to Herwig Turk.
Text by Ingeborg Reichle (2008)