Everything is in motion.
Light art in the historic waterworks in Cologne
In 1872, the city of Cologne inaugurated its first waterworks. The event marked the start of a new era: the days when the people of Cologne had to fetch water from the well and carry it home in buckets were over. It also presented a milestone in the city’s history in terms of hygiene. For the first time since the Roman period, it was once again possible to draw clean water directly from a tap. 150 years have passed since. RheinEnergie is celebrating this anniversary with an exhibition at the historic Severin II waterworks on Zugweg. This otherwise inaccessible and listed piece of industrial architecture will now be opened to the public and become the setting for a culture of remembrance steeped in history and artistic reinvention.
The exhibition’s title is ‘panta rhei’. With these words, Heraclitus is said to have summed up his teaching: “No one can step into the same river twice, for everything flows and nothing remains.” Two and a half thousand years after the Greek philosopher’s death, his lesson is relevant as ever. All is in flux and things are ever changing, each moment gone in the blink of an eye. Man is part of an eternal cycle of coming and going, birth and death as glimpses of evolution in the continuous becoming of time and space. Nevertheless, man lives with the delusive certainty of having everything under control, of being in charge of destiny, even of predetermining events. Possibly Heraklit’s teaching is even more disturbing for us today than it was for people in earlier times, because in our present, the current seems to drag off the shore along with it. Water becomes a metaphor: Today the challenge seems to lie in the fact that nothing is solid ground anymore – our familiar certainties are being washed away. The exhibition curators Ralf Seippel and Lily McLeish from the light art project COLLUMINA have invited eight artists to install works related to the themes of water, light and energy in the large hall of the waterworks.
Hartung und Trenz | MOMENT/UM
Jacqueline Hen | Light High _ On the verge of perception
Bastian Hoffmann | Untitled
Mischa Kuball | lost objects, artefacts, and other damages
molitor & kuzmin | SCRATCH
François Schwamborn | Nervous Water
| Jacqueline Hen | Light High | 2019 | 5,5 x 10 x 3,2m | mirrors, water, wood, LEDs, Raspberry Pi, sound | Photo: Frank Vinken | © Jacqueline Hen |
| Wasserwerk | setup Panta Rhei | Mischa Kuball, molitor & kuzmin | 2022 | courtesy of COLLUMINA and the artists |