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 Fensterausstellung Katharina Krenkel 2021 | Stadthaus Ulm

14. April 2021 - 20. June 2021
in the window facing Hirschstraße
A contagious exhibition by Katharina Krenkel

Katharina Krenkel's micro mystery - Photo: Rich Serra
The MIKROMYSTERIUM, the ‘micro mystery’, is a wonderous universe where microorganisms dwell, constantly moving viruses and bacteria, larger than life, crocheted and textile objects of art.
The beauty of these microscopic life-forms is as contagious as the fear of infection. A voyeuristic view of Covid, influenza, rubella, HPV, pest, swine flu, cholera, malaria, measles, Ebola, diphtheria, typhus, mumps, hepatitis, meningitis, rabies, norovirus, tetanus, chicken pox, Spanish flu, syphilis, HIV, gonorrhoea and tuberculosis – from a safe distance.

How should we handle the risk of infection and the avalanche of information? Which points of view should we pick in the endless space of uncertainty? It is time for respectful and forgiving insights and courageous exploration: The poetry and diversity of nature transformed into fluffy, scratchy, colourful creatures promis healing and show that there are many other pathogens than just the one. This ‘contagious exhibition’ (Katharina Krenkel) moves frightening pathogens into the realm of art, offering a different vantage point.

Idea and concept:
Katharina Krenkel and Christine Bargstedt

Soft Sculptures:
Katharina Krenkel

Mikromysterium on YouTube

Personal commentary:

Katharina Krenkel: Corona - Photo: Rich Serra

‘My plans for the art-year of 2020/21 have been turned upside down for obvious reasons. As a creative person, I have tried to deal with the confusion creatively.

I made the reality of my life the subject of my work and created new vantage points for myself. Which lead to this exhibition of viruses and bacteria. A way to process the pandemic – an internal clean-up of dull and pessimistic expectations.

The MIKROMYSTERIUM is not a scientist’s approach, but the awestruck and curious view of an artist.


Das Foto zeigt ein gehäkeltes Pestvirus in den Farben orange-gelb-grün
Katharina Krenkel: Pest - Photo: Rich Serra

I myself shrink to microcosmic proportions, observing the existence of a bacterial and virological universe. Through my work on these soft fomes, I realised the difference between bacteria and viruses. Bacteria have nuclei, which means they can exist and multiply independently – they can be tackled with antibiotics – and they are much larger than viruses.
Viruses cannot exist independently, they need a host to attach to – and they can only be fought with an antibody-serum, a vaccine.

The truth is, that I understand that I don’t understand anything. I regard these viruses and bacteria as fascinating and mysterious objects, that exist beyond my scope of understanding and perception. I wish we would come to peace with things beyond our control. I imagine us to grow through the enthusiasm for the beauty of creation, of which we are just a tiny piece.’

Katharina Krenkel

In Wahrheit verstehe ich, dass ich nichts verstehe. Ich betrachte diese Viren und Bakterien als faszinierende und rätselhafte Objekte, die jenseits meines Verständnisses und meiner Wahrnehmung neben mir existieren. Ich wünsche, dass wir unseren Frieden machen mit Dingen, die wir nicht steuern können. Ich stelle mir vor, dass wir uns groß fühlen in der Begeisterung für die Schönheit der Schöpfung, von der wir nur ein ganz kleiner Teil sind."

Katharina Krenkel

About the artist

Katharina Krenkel - Photo: Rich Serra

Katharina Krenkel, born in 1966, raised in Stuttgart, living in the Saarland, is exhibiting her work extensively all over Germany almost every year since 1989. She was one of the representatives of the Saarland art scene at the German Pavilion at EXPO Hanover, she has been invited to Luxemburg numerous times and will exhibit at the Timeless Textiles Gallery in Newcastle (Australia) for the first time in 2021.

Art enthusiasts in Ulm will remember her exhibition of ‘the latest scientific advancements from the universe of crocheting’ at pro arte Galerie at the Kornhauskeller in 2015.

Her large and sometimes space filling Soft Sculptures put the sculptor’s works in the context of a tradition that was made popular by Claes Oldenburg, although crochet hooks and wool come from the realm of crafts, and therefore with a female connotation. Katharina Krenkel gives attributes such as ‘industrious’ of ‘soft’ a new meaning in a feminist sense.

Her objects can be found in numerous public collections in the Saarland, in Baden-Württemberg, Hessen and Rheinland-Pfalz. The artist has received multiple awards and grants.