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11.5. bis 22.7.2012

Dialogue in steel

From 11 May-22 July 2012, the DB Museum hosted this exhibition, which juxtaposed the steel sculptures of artist Herbert Mehler with items of the same material selected from different eras of rail history by Florian Borkenhagen.

From 11 May-22 July 2012, the DB Museum hosted this exhibition, which juxtaposed the steel sculptures of artist Herbert Mehler with items of the same material selected from different eras of rail history by Florian Borkenhagen.

  • 11 May-22 July 2012
  • Dialog in Stahl ("Dialogue in steel")

From 11 May-22 July 2012, the DB Museum hosted this exhibition, which juxtaposed the steel sculptures of artist Herbert Mehler with items of the same material selected from different eras of rail history by Florian Borkenhagen.

The parallel nature of art

Herbert Mehler is among Germany's most prominent sculptors working in metal. His steel pieces convey a sense of lightness and elegance, despite the weight of their actual material. Mehler makes particularly extensive use of weathering steel, whose special feature is the way it develops only the lightest layer of rust as it takes on its red-brown patina. The steel underneath does not oxidise further, which means it remains perfectly durable. Mehler describes his sculptures as being of a "parallel nature" – their surfaces change over time, and natural forms are combined with geometric constructions such as spheres, cones and cylinders. Organic shapes are juxtaposed with forms derived from technological creations. With their interplay of concave and convex surfaces, the artist calls his pieces "cavex sculptures".

Certain works have been gilded as a reference to the wealth and beauty of ancient Egypt. "Gold glows from within," Mehler says, underscoring the metal's ability to create an atmosphere of splendour.

Steel's forms and functions

Flanking Mehler's works, the DB Museum displayed items from its treasure trove, selected and adapted by Hamburg-based artist Florian Borkenhagen. Taking different components from carriages and tracks, such as rails, buffers and brake discs, Borkenhagen transformed them by radically altering the setting in which they were seen, giving them an entirely new series of connotations for viewers otherwise familiar with the pieces from workaday settings. By losing their original functions, the pieces acquired a new aesthetic value. Borkenhagen's works can be seen in galleries across Europe and the USA. His art forges a link with the world of design and invites viewers to interact with it. Art becomes a fitting, while fittings become art.