Well, I've had enough of people who die for an idea. I don't believe in heroism. I know it's easy, and I've learned it's grueling.
- Albert Camus, The Plague
Against the heroic epic of antiquity, the legends as well as the comics with the death-defying lone warrior stands the crowd, the unnamed multitude of people who in the course of history repeatedly fall victim to the “bigger cause”. The Chernobyl accident happened in 1986, shortly before the final collapse of the Soviet Union. When the worst-case scenario happened, the Soviet authorities ordered thousands of men and women to go to the reactor and without emotion called them “liquidators”, in English “liquidators”. Another international name is "Biorobots". Because machines that are used first cannot withstand heat and radiation. In the work cycle “Biorobots”, the Berlin artist Andreas Mühe pursues the questionable narrative of heroism and, in the context of the church, takes up a central question of religious history, the question of the victim. The devotion of one's life to a greater cause is part of the history of saints and martyrs in religions. In Christianity, God himself sacrifices the life of his Son for the guilt of all humanity. But not only in Christianity is the question asked: Can these stories still orient us today or do we have to think new and differently about heroes and saints today?
The exhibition in St. Matthew's Church takes place in three acts, which are based on the church year. In the first installation, Mühle's “biorobots” are placed in light boxes - like tombs in medieval churches - in her memory. In the church apse, in the central center, hangs a work at the place of the altarpiece, which shows an empty pedestal covered only by the heavy, velvet fabric. The biorobot that was just lying on top of another picture has disappeared. Whether he left himself or took it away remains open.
A picture change takes place around the Sunday of the Dead: The biorobots now move as picture panels on the walls of the church. "Christmas trees" shine from the light boxes, the Christian motif of the traditional family celebration. The group of works is an artistic reconstruction of the Christmas trees that Andreas Mühe himself had from 1979-2016. The constantly changing shape and decoration of the fir trees reflects the passage of time and the maintenance of family traditions regardless of changing political systems (from GDR to FRG) and, last but not least, also draws a personal portrait of the artist. With the warm light of the Christmas trees, Advent is ushered in as a time of silence and gathering.
A third bill is titled “The Auskehrung” and forms the end of the three acts.