1996. Room/Videoinstallation. Mühltal
Black sealing compound, soap suds, pumps, water, plastic sheet, monitor, video player with endless tape

 

 

The former women’s washroom for employees is flooded ankle-deep. The surface of the water acts as a big mirror.. From the five sinks on the tiled side wall, blossom-white soap suds swell upward unabatedly, arching outward and forming large, constantly changing sculptures suggestive of bodies.
On the wall opposite the sinks a monitor has been installed. The heads of women become visible. As if they could come right through the glass of the display screen, they push forward through a transparent surface or substance and then look straight forward unmovingly with swollen faces.

 

1996. Room/Videoinstallation. Mühltal
Black sealing compound, soap suds, pumps, water, plastic sheet, monitor, video player with endless tape

 


The former women’s washroom for employees at the Wacker factory has not been used for years. As a private, yet semi-public space, this special area of the factory grounds was even then an interface between the inner and the outer. Now, the walls are weathered, and the plaster is crumbling and peeling off in many layers from the substrate.
Installation:
The washroom is flooded ankle-deep. Since the floor was waterproofed with a black substance, the surface of the water acts as a big mirror, reflecting the room and its plumbing fixtures. Coming from outside, there is scent of spruce needles and lilacs. From the five sinks on the tiled side wall, blossom-white soap suds swell upward unabatedly, arching outward and forming large, constantly changing sculptures suggestive of bodies. From time to time, a gob of foam falls off and floats along on the water’s surface like an iceberg.


On the wall opposite the sinks, a niche has been cut into the brick wall at eye level, and a monitor has been installed so that only the glass surface of the screen projects from the wall. The video images displayed on the screen are an additional source of illumination, adding to the light coming in the four frosted-glass windows, casting a dim light into the room and being reflected on the calm surface of the water.
At uniform intervals, the heads of women become visible – initially indistinctly. As if they could come right through the glass of the display screen, they push forward through a transparent surface or substance and then look straight forward unmovingly as if they were looking into a mirror. Their faces are swollen, their eyes alienating.

After a while, the women back away and seem to fall backwards. Slowly, their images dissolve, as they would in a puddle into which drops are falling.

[Translate to Englisch:]

1996. Raum/Videoinstallation. Mühltal. Seifenschaum, Motoren, Wasser, Folie, Monitor, Videoplayer mit Endlosband

 

Christine Biehler hat mit dem Frauenwaschraum gearbeitet: Seifenschaum wird zu fragilen Skulpturen, ein Video simuliert die auf Gesichter konzentrierte Situation - das Ritual der Reinigung in seiner weit über das Fabrikleben hinausgehenden Bedeutung.


(Susanne Broos. In: Frankfurter Rundschau  29.5.1996)