Two worlds: that of form, construction, image; and that of natural processes, of coming into existence and ceasing to exist, of the first and last things. Tamara Grcic spans her ensemble between these poles in order to electrify an entire range of what seem to be everyday events and patterns of perception.

In the past three years, the artist, born in 1964 and a former film student under Peter Kubelka, has been working predominantly with natural objects. First, she studied and documented during the course of many months the various stages of decomposition of different fruits and vegetables. Arranged and formalised, and thus held at a distance, the still fresh, or already rotting, mouldy, running, or shrivelled objects demonstrated for a short period to the outside viewer as well a very own capacity for transference. Their material presence, the fact that actual changes can be seen and smelled, created an invisible context of emotions and associations, without allowing a reduction to one pattern of interpretation.

In a series of steps, each oriented towards a specific spatial, temporal, or situational context, Tamara Grcic has expanded the thematic space of her works and made their borders increasingly permeable. The hermetic grasp of natural cycles has transformed itself into a more playful dealing with the material which she places in other contexts and combines with formal elements. This leads to a creation of transitions between naturalness and artificiality, real conditions and imaginary possibilities.

"Blumenbilder" ("Flower Pictures"), for example, is the title of her installations with gerbera, a cultivation which embodies in the identical reproduction of its form and a seemingly infinite range of colours the archetype of a flower and at the same time extreme artificiality. In standardised cardboard displays usually used for transport, the gerbera hung on the wood-panelled walls in the regional office of an insurance company, varying on a daily basis in regard to combinations of colour and degree of freshness or wilting. Exposed in an industrial display as frame and subject to wilting, they stepped out of the "image" of a flower into concrete reality.

At Portikus, a reality enters an image-frame without, however, itself turning into an image. The twelve-hour-exhibition is more of an action. No lasting art object, not even something that can be defined as such is presented; instead, 700 yellow honeydew melons "visit" the art space and is spread across a large part of the room on irregular display-tables. Their actual reality lies in another cycle which here only for a short time intersects with art.

In the neighbouring central market, these fruits circulate in daily and seasonal cycles in significantly larger quantities. Their organic existence is subject to exact time schedules and transport routes that are run through quickly in order to keep the fruits fresh until they reach their destination. Like an industrial product, they are part of a more or less homogeneously accessible offer of commodities. The short stay at Portikus interrupts this time schedule. What becomes important is how they are individually arranged, the tension they create in another space, their display, their colour, and the smell they emit. The displacement, the freeing from their normalised boxes, leads to an intensive physical charge that would under other circumstances remain concealed.

For Tamara Grcic, this reveals for a moment an imaginary reality existing between two otherwise separated worlds. In the film that goes on beforehand and afterwards an image appears for a short time. Its feedback, in the end, even leads to an actual detour: it was originally intended to only borrow the melons and then hand them back over to their usual cycle. As this was not possible for reasons of foodstuffs law, the project was enabled by the donation of a Frankfurt wholesaler. After the exhibition, the melons are given to Hessian refugee facilities in Schwalbach, Gelnhausen, and Schönbeck.

Photo: Katrin Schilling