Simon Starling

Simon Starling

Simon Starling
Kakteenhaus, 2002
Production still, Texas Hollywood Film Studios, Tabernas Desert, Andalucia,Spain.
Copyright: Simon Starling
Courtesy: the artist and neugerriemschneider, Berlin

January 26, 2009

Simon Starling
Under Lime
February 7 – March 18, 2009

February 6, 2009, 9 pm

Schlossplatz, Berlin-Mitte
phone: (+49) 30 25 76 20 4-0
fax: (+49) 30 25 76 20 4-19
office [​at​]

Simon Starling’s works deal with natural and cultural transformation processes. Composed in a series of conceptual and practical steps that appear as an experimental set-up, they at the same time tell a story of change. At the centre of Starling’s show at the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin two installations revolve around the climate as a necessary precondition for the existence of natural and consequently also artificial systems. A cactus is brought to the Berlin winter and a motor vehicle is converted to provide heating; in the second installation, a natural system generates the adequate conditions for presenting sensitive artefacts such as historical photographs. With the third site-specific installation, created specifically for the Kunsthalle, Starling addresses the notion of a cycle alternating between nature and technology, by reconfiguring a chainsaw to a new use.

As comprehensible as Starling’s conceptual and material constructions may be, they remain fragile poetic allusions that are as idiosyncratic as they are aesthetically captivating. His works are based not least on the Romantic insight that, upon closer examination, “everything is connected with everything”.

The installation Kakteenhaus (Cactus House) (2002) simulates a greenhouse environment for a cactus which Starling took out of its original ecosystem in Spain and brought to Northern Europe by car. The car is parked outside the Kunsthalle, with its engine removed and set up inside. Extended conduits and cables connect the two elements in such a way that the heat produced by the running engine provides an adequate climate for the cactus. While the inherent contradiction of presenting exotic plants in unsuitable climates is thus made obvious in a grotesquely exaggerated way, the interweaving of material objects and the stories related to their origin create the constructions situated between documentation and fiction.

With Plant Room (2008) Starling produces the ideal conservational conditions for a selection of sensitive original photos of Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932). Blossfeldt is considered one of the most significant photographers of New Objectivity. His interest in the detailed depiction of plants was directed towards their composition and structure as well as the manner in which they could be transferred to a formal vocabulary of architecture and ornamentation. Starling presents Blossfeldt’s photographs in an archaic clay brick house. A special quality of clay brick architecture lies in the fact that it provides an optimal climatic balance. The integrated heating system draws the water it needs from the adjacent Spreekanal and brings it to the desired temperature by means of a fuel cell.

The new work Under Lime (2009) created specially for the exhibition elegantly addresses a process one could call a targeted detour. It is again a part of nature that was removed from its original context with the help of an apparatus which subsequently serves – other as intended – to discreetly display the object in the Kunsthalle. Cut from a tree at “Unter den Linden”, the chainsaw driven by an internal combustion engine serves to graft the removed branch from the cultivated nature outside into the interior of the cultural art space.

Simon Starling (born 1967 in Epsom, UK) lives and works in Berlin and Copenhagen. His installations are on view in the most renowned international museums and collections. Simon Starling won the Turner Prize in 2005. Since 2005 he is professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste (Städelschule) in Frankfurt/Main.

Dr. Julian Heynen (Artistic Advisory Board of Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin and Director of K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf)

Simon Starling – Under Lime, with texts by Simon Starling, Julian Heynen, Dominic Eichler, and Angela Rosenberg, German / English, 128 pages, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, ISBN 978-3-86560-597-9.

daily 11 am – 6 pm, mondays to 10 pm.

The new discussion series “Best Practice, Berlin” presented by the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin aims at examining the general conditions for contemporary fine art in Berlin. Based on the exploration of topics such as “production”, “institutionalisation”, “presentation”, “art critique”, “sales”, and “distribution” the relevance of contemporary art for Berlin will be discussed and analysed within the next two years.

If you wish to receive our newsletter regularly please subscribe here

Bärbel Hartje, phone: +49 (30) 25 76 20 4-31, fax: +49 (30) 25 76 20 4-19,,

Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin

RSVP for Simon Starling

January 26, 2009

Thank you for your RSVP.

will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.