"Installations" is the current theme of the exhibition series "ars viva" initiated by the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft of the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. This widely applicable term was intentionally chosen to imply the supersession of traditional genre borders within contemporary art by conceptually-oriented and cross-medial positions.

The five prize winners Kai Althoff (Cologne), Lothar Hempel (Cologne), Manfred Pernice (Berlin), Torsten Slama (Berlin), and Sean Snyder (Frankfurt) work with different media, three-dimensional spatial elements such as sculptures, racks, and scenarios, as well as with video and photo installations. Portikus Frankfurt is the final showcase for this exhibition, following the Brandenburg Art Collection Cottbus and the Kunstverein Braunschweig.

While Kai Althoff and Sean Snyder directly relate to Portikus in their works, Lothar Hempel, Manfred Pernice, and Torsten Slama realizes site-independent projects.

The installations of Kai Althoff (b. 1966) possess a strong narrative element. They appear as locations for action and events. In Portikus, Althoff erects a scaffolding closed on the sides in front of one of the windows that reachs to the ceiling. The visitors themselves become protagonists in this walkable object.

Lothar Hempel (b. 1966) forms sculptures that create a scenario. His racks are complemented by props forming an atmospheric whole. For the exhibition in Frankfurt, the artist builds the backdrop for a scene from his fictive film "The Observer".

Using drawings and models as a point of departure, Manfred Pernice (b. 1963) creates sculptures whose form and content possess no fixed function; with the help of their titles, however, they trigger concrete associations. Specific contents are transported to alternative forms. In the exhibition, Pernice displays a work entitled "Strandgut" ("Flotsam").

Torsten Slama (b. 1967) is engaged in creating objects developed with computer programmes. His work for Portikus, "Variations on a Theme by Kenneth C. Knowlton", is based on a programme that generates variations of a weaving pattern via random numbers. Knowlton's picture "Via Video" serves as the basis. Slama shows a video containing animated examples as well as several image prints.

Sean Snyder (b. 1972) deals with urbanity and planned architectural surroundings. Snyder divides the Portikus space in half by duplicating elements of its interior architecture, thus creating an architectural frame. This spatial alteration highlights the existing architecture.