Henrik Schrat’s three-part installation at and in the ZeitHaus museum is an example of the interplay between art and technology. Umpteen thousand individual components metamorphosize into figures or technical entities giving an impression of dynamism and movement.
Façade: “Chiron” (foil cut-out silhouettes on glass)
For this part of his work Henrik Schrat creates individual silhouettes on the ZeitHaus museum´s façade using myriads of automobile components such as camshafts, bolts or spark plugs. Collectively they merge to become the figure of the most famous centaur in Greek mythology, the Chiron, which gives this artwork its name. Chiron is synonymous with wisdom, knowledge and justice and also embodies the perfect fusion of man with the elegance, power and speed of the horse: an image of mobility and movement but also of humankind’s development and its modes of transport. At the same time the work of art underscores the organizational structures of large companies such as the Volkswagen Group, in which potential is only brought to fruition through collaboration.
Since the installation of the “Chiron” on and in the ZeitHaus museum, films dealing with aspects of Henrik Schrat’s work can be seen on the LED-wall. In one of these, during a video installation, the figure of the “Chiron” is broken down into its separate components. “The Alphabet” - individual letters leaning on a text - shows various components of the artwork which only become meaningful when all parts work together.
The second film establishes a direct link with the ZeitHaus museum and its exhibits. It deals with a theme that is as old as the car itself: the personification of the automobile. The most striking feature is its “face”, which consists of headlights, bumper and radiator grill. It smiles, looks angry, radiates elegance or seems to be affronted.
In 130 images, which were pieced together in a stop-motion sequence, the person observing the faces sets out on a historic journey. Like an identikit index, car brands, series and distinctive features are combined. Yet herein lies the deception: in the end the ever-changing “being” is nothing at all. We are its face, a mask which we project onto the machine. As much as it is important to make technology as congenial and as useful as possible for humankind, it is also dangerous when we succumb to its “humanization”.
The mobiles: „Zug nach Oben“ (powder coated aluminium, steel cables, diverse materials)
The continuation of the installation, its third part, is to be found inside the ZeitHaus museum. “Zug nach Oben” consists of five mobiles which again are constructed from the silhouettes of automobile components.
The mobiles hang in the hall's central vertical space in a rising line. On the diagonal they dissect one of the bridges and, like a procession which has come to a short halt and whose participants move back and forth restlessly, they simply hang there. Components fuse into separate modules developing a life of their own. There is evidence of the individual nut and bolt but also complex technomorphic entities that develop a character of their own suggesting what they might embody.
ChironIn Greek mythology Chiron was the son of Kronos and Philyra. He is Zeus’ half-brother and one of the centaurs. Physically he resembles these wild creatures which are half man and half beast but his is a different origin. He is a superlative being and the centaur exception. Chiron is considered wise, knowledgeable and just, and a friend of the gods.
During Hercules’ fourth labours (capture of the Erymanthian boar) Chiron was accidentally wounded by Hercules’ poisonous arrow. To avoid the pain of his wound he gave up his immortality and was immortalized as a star sign instead.