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In medicine, implantation means the implantation of biological material or chemical substances into an organism.
The act of implantation or nidation is the focus of Alke Reeh’s project. The process, however, takes place in two mirror-inverted maneuvers of exchange. While inanimate matter is inserted into an animate body, conversely a natural substance is implanted into dead matter. In the strict sense, the artist implants one the one hand lagged concrete casts into the broken-up earth’s crust of a lawn, while on the other hand she plants circular sods into a paved parking lot. This bipolar process corresponds to the complementary design of the “nidation material.” The lifeless concrete is forced into a precise form and remains in it, while the proliferating nature defies any final formability. In contrast, the hardened concrete encases the cut sod, a negative or better absent form as a positive form of curbed materiality. The juxtaposed strangeness of implant and place of implantation causes irritation and poses the question: why of all locations has this banal place been singled out? The marking, circuiting and cross-marking of these places is more than a playful exchange. It is, in Umberto Ecco’s sense, an open artwork that confronts the viewer with a self-perception that is self-contradictory. Through endless processes of adnation and rejection the artwork eludes final definition and becomes a symbol that takes on the character of a reference. The implant transforms non-places into places of meaning. Seemingly banal appearances provoke a quest for meaning, turn into symbols of meaning, refer to something else, something closely related, something absent.

Dr. Bettina Baumgärtel