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Studio + Laboratory: Workshops of Knowledge

By Stefanie B├╝rkle

August 1, 2019 - January 31, 2020

NAS Building, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W.

Free. Photo ID required.

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Be it artistic works or scientific discoveries, the end results are all that generally remain visible of the creative process. What happens behind closed doors in the laboratory or studio tends to be just as invisible as it is mysterious. Stefanie Bürkle, a German artist and visual arts professor, chose to delve into these sites of creativity, using large and medium-format analogue cameras to photograph scientists’ laboratories and artists’ studios in Berlin.

Bürkle’s photographic works present intriguing visual puzzles. Each is a bewildering mosaic of storage shelves, work benches, tools, equipment, and half-finished projects that convey a sense of energy and creativity. The viewer is compelled to imagine what these spaces look like when populated and what types of activities would take place. The photographs reveal a curious similarity between studio and laboratory. Would we see the same similarities if we were watching artists and scientists at work? Perhaps, but not necessarily. By pointing her lens at the work spaces rather than the workers, Bürkle encourages us to look past some of the superficial differences between artists and scientists and to consider whether at a deeper level there are significant parallels in the creative processes of the two disciplines and to better understand the nature of creativity.

Stefanie Bürkle is an artist and a professor of fine art at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. She studied scenography in Paris and fine art at the Berlin University of the Arts. Her artistic practice ranges from painting and photography to video and installation. In addition to highlighting the connections between art and science, her art and research focus on a critical examination of urban space, exploring topics such as construction sites and facades, architecture as scenography, and theme parks and tourism.

Photo: Tomas Saraceno's studio.

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