Dr. Ulrike Steinbrenner
Lilly Grote creates conceivable worlds, models en miniature formed like realities. Her pieces describe plausible situations that are pure feats of the imagination. As Paul Valery said: “To see means to forget the name of what you are looking at.”
How does Lilly Grote fashion these conceivable worlds? Stage sets, curiosity cabinets or dream-machines; strange puppet worlds or conjured fetishes - each piece presents us with new and unsuspected referential connections.
Lilly Grote not only masters the technique of assemblage and three dimensional object montage, but she interprets it in a personal and unique manner, thus depicting multiple relations between art, culture and the imagination in a highly lyrical way. The narrative combination of reality and fiction corresponds to the work’s aesthetic connections: photography, sculpture and painting are valued equally within the representations.
Lilly Grote appears to mistrust a “plausibly explained world”, material spheres, realisms or objectivity. Sometimes our existence is threatened by hunters, spies or other box-villains as they play out their characteristic devilries. Other works show familiar or unfamiliar objects made of cracking and crumbling materials, or else they are suspended in the precise moment of magically changing their aggregate state – allowing us to witness the very last instant before their wondrous transformation.
Staub (Dust), a film about the demolition of a GDR watchtower, and also Nautik (Nautics), with its secretive, underwater, obscured sunken equipment, relates to the most recent censorship in German history.
And just like the 11th September 2001, the fall of the Wall in 1998 was captured by thousands of video cameras. By showing the destruction of the watchtower right up to the removal of its material and metaphoric leftovers, namely its dust, the symbolic content of this history can be grasped emotionally.
We quietly echo Johann G. Herder: “Thus everything in history is transient: the inscription on her temple is, evanescence and decay. We tread on the ashes of our forefathers, and stalk over the entombed ruins of human institutions and kingdoms.”
(J.G. Herder, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit. Translation; T. Churchhill, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, London, 1800)