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Kurbelfische in the garage

The process of getting closer

The common interest in creating new things, the common joy in the perception of the discussion of professional and coincidental recipients with the created objects and installations, and a form of humor seeming compatible have built up an energy tension, between the Bochum artists Monika Ortmann and Wolfram Lakaszus, being usually rather different, who try to manage common projects since 2004.

One of the focal points therefore is the confrontation of real and surreal manifestations.

Based on the fact that at first there exists a very obvious discrepancy between the positions of the two artists or respectively their specific perceptions,  common objects and installations arise in intensive cooperation, which represent the modes of operation of both and show furthermore new - synergetic - aspects.

To keep the integration process measuring and controllable, Ortmann and Lakaszus proceed incrementally - the common projects  let loose on the world early, virtually practise proven - and gradually brought closer to a particular focus in subsequent phases.



The three elements of  the Project "Kurbelfische"

Element A: Inspirator

The Inspirator is the heart of the project "Kurbelfische":
A space installation consisting of a swarm of fictile fishes (about 100 examples)
above a reflecting expanse of water.

The fish hung at hardly visible threads can be put into movement by means of a spiral cardan shaft seeming bizarre and a simple drive with an ancient cast-iron handle.

The drive shaft takes care that the fish move apparently independently of each other in the room over the expanse of water up and down.

 The obvious triviality of the function mechanism of the swarm drive is striven by a transparency of the construction, as extensive as possible.

The material used for the drive - mainly black steel, cast-iron and patinated wood - brings back the memories of the machine of the turn of the century next-to-last.

The use of alumina and red pigments for the body of the fish - and in addition the expanse of water - shall make easier the references to elementary components of our world.

The drive mechanism is aligned so that the fish always float above the expanse of  water. The center of the movement of the fish is about eye level. The illumination supports the reflection character of the expanse of water.

Through this the fish appear in the "Depth" another time. In addition, the light reflecting at the surface produces additional fish shade on the walls.

Of relevance for Ortmann and Lakaszus is also the concept, that the drive mechanism is enclosed of the expanse of water.

Recipients which would like to drive the mechanism take a certain personal risk (of getting damp feet at a false step). The dynamics of the fish is "bought" by a recipient work victim.

The operation of the mechanism creates peculiar sounds inspiring the imagination.

Real fish serve as a direct form model of the fish.

Element B: Korrespondenten (correspondents)

To be able to overcome the temporary disappearance rhythm and the stationary limitation, the Inspirator - the Kurbelfish installation - shall be virtualized.

Not the virtuality of the internet but the haptically ascertainable world shall be used. 

Therefore are created Korrespondenten - in form of a series of objects, which are at first part of the installation, then being carried  to the world increasingly via a diffusion process - e. g. by sale to art-loving ones.

Thinking of wooden crates with a built-in crank drive and one single red clay fish each. The prototype for the Korrespondenten is already proven. The series is limited on three dozen copies.

In addition to the limited series personalized Korrespondenten are offered in contract work.

For this individual Korrespondenten the respective "customer" must make a sacrifice to the artist.
A household, office or workshop object with a suitable crank which then is removed and implanted in a new Korrespondent für the future host by the artists.

It is the aim to integrate the Korrespondenten as optimally as possible at their diffusion aim - the host installation site.

Element C: Verständniskatalysator (understanding catalyst)

The Verständniskatalysator is a text object which represents the perception of both artists without limiting the recipients to  an interpretation dogma, however.

The Verständniskatalysator shall provide an interpretation room as open as possible, to support the creativity of the recipients at the search for their own interpretation.

The size of the Verständniskatalysator shall not exceed the length of a short story.


For more information obout the Kurbelfisch: Object



An installation in the course of the group exhibition

A project of


Kunst in der Tiefgarage, Ennepetal 2004

colleagues involved

Monika Ortmann

sponsored by

Sparkasse Ennepetal
KunstraumEN e.V.