Warfare in a Fragile World
“Through my chosen fragile materiality I question common values and the way these values are attributed to things in a world characterized by the scarcity of resources.”
From questioning what remains of humans as a natural species to what is left as an object and its surrounding materials, Marburg-based artist Sarah Steger’s art references the fragility of humankind and its relation to the different materials used to search for the shared values in our challenging world of today.
Born in Bad Homburg (de) and currently based at Marburg (gr), Sarah Steger studied art history at Philipps – University Marburg (de) followed by a master’s in conceptions of fine arts. Since 2017, Sarah has been active in Marburg’s local art scene, she has exhibited at the Museum of Art and Cultural History Marburg (Kunstmuseum Marburg (G), Marburger Kunstverein, and Der Schwanhof. To support her artistic development, Sarah Steger was selected by KUNST.LABOR.STADT.PLATZ, a public art initiative for art professors and students at Marburg, to work on a collective project “UNDER PLACES”, In addition, she works to exhibit her light art project “Save me from Safety” at YOUNG MASTERS PROGRAM by INTERFERENCE Light Art Project Tunis that will be held in the Medina of Tunis (tn) from 28 to 31 July.
Starting as a painter creating images of different aging creatures portraits with rust-cast iron skin to working on installations made with solid materials including bronze, copper, iron, and wire, the visual artist’s work developed from being focused on human remains to human surrounded objects. Through her different medium approaches in her artworks (painting, installation, and video), Sarah Steger depicts the relation of humankind with its physical and tangible environment in a challenging and resource-limited contemporary world. Showing the fragility of humankind through the various materials, Sarah Steger’s artworks question our relation to objects, identity, and time. With a background in art history and fine arts concepts, Sarah Steger’s artwork audiences need to reconsider and investigate the history, religion, untold realities, and metaphors in their research question.
Sarah Steger’s artworks
The materials that the visual artist experiments and works with are considered garbage by others, she tries to collect the unwanted, old and thrown materials to use them for her art practice and research. With the “UNDER PLACES” exhibition that was initiated by KUNST.LABOR.STADT.PLATZ for the goal to transform the urban space “ Rudolphsplatz” located in Marburg into a research and experiment laboratory, Sarah Steger has collected obsolete functioning and disused lamps for “ The Light Housing Project ” installation. Bringing back light to the defunct ones, Sarah Steger brought the human fragility concept with a different material to question our contemporary situation in a matter of housing, individual security, and energy resource scarcity.
“ The Light Housing Project ”
“ Going through Sarah’s artworks, I really see them as part of the 70’s Italian art movement “ Arte Povera”, which is an artistic movement that started in Italy and took place as a result of the frantic industrialization pace.”
As she continues working with light as a medium in public spaces with YOUNG MASTERS PROGRAM created by INTERFERENCE Light Art Project Tunis, Sarah Steger realizes a video installation that will be exhibited at Kichlet El Attarine in the Medina of Tunis (tn). With the different art mediums that process and question human fragility and resource scarcity in our urban life through the materials used – either solid (iron, copper, and wire) or soft like gaze tissues – Sarah Steger’s video installation “ Save Me From Safety” interrogates the question of security, human fragility to the bioenergetic process, photosynthesis.
Sarah Steger “Save Me From Safety”
From synthetic to natural materials, the visual and conceptual artist works with leaves which she has experimented with different liquids to conserve them without sunlight interaction. As it looks like an abstract and complex way of dealing with organic and natural materials, Sarah examines respiration in a civilized and industrial world. Within the video art itself the artist, being covered by an emergency blanket supposed to save her, breathes heavily to the point of near asphyxiation “ Save Me From Safety “ questions the underlying role of different fabricated materials, and she probs the human vulnerability and our reliance on photosynthesis to keep breathing, living, and producing. In relation to YOUNG MASTERS PROGRAM’s photosynthesis third edition theme, Sarah Steger reflects human fragility and the scarcity of organic materials in a producing, material absorbing world but this time regarding our relation to the natural environment and flora ecosystem.
Highlighting human susceptibility through different art forms ( painting, installation, light art, and video installation) with different materials in a scarce resource-consuming contemporary era, Sarah Steger is always in the experimenting and collecting process to bring us an artwork that seeks to make us think about our role and contribution to the material world before and after individual existence.
Photo: Arij Bouchami