In 2012 Outset Germany supported Kristina Buch’s open air installation The Lover (2012), situated on Kassel’s Friedrichsplatz, the vast open space between Fridericianum, Documenta-Halle and the catholic church St. Elisabeth.
What at first glance appears to be an elevated and rather robust plant feeder filled with thistles, nettles, trees and all sorts of flowers turns out to be a highly fragile piece of art. German artist Kristina Buch carefully selected indigenous plants thus creating a delicately balanced eco-environment to feed her equally carefully home-bred butterflies, which she daily sets free on this 10 by 10 meter sized universe. This setting free is a daily process of love, dedication and devotion and it is what matters to Buch and what constitutes its beauty. Buch continues to emphasize the ephemeral character of her work – since it is out of her and anybody’s reach – whether the butterflies, themselves being the very epitome of ephemeral creatures, will stay or move on to other flowers and blossoms outside of Buch’s environment.
The artwork’s title refers back to Ars Amatoria, Ovid’s three volume instruction to men and women on how to love and be loved.
In return hinting at the fact that love in itself is a metamorphic process just like breeding butterflies, which themselves are going through various metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to nymph to butterfly. Both the Buch piece of art and the butterfly match perfectly the dOCUMENTA’s (13) four conditons in which artists and thinkers find themselves acting in the present of being:
• ‘on stage’: an elevated platform on a public square // the colourful and beautiful butterfly as actor?
• ‘under siege’: of spectators (Buch’s installation as well as the butterflies themselves) and also on a more general level of mankind taking away the butterflies’ living space
?• ‘in a state of hope’: hope of not being destroyed // the egg hopes to become a caterpillar, which in turn hopes to become a nymph, which in turn hopes to become the butterfly
?• ‘on retreat’: the installation is set apart in the square’s centre // the butterflies are apart from their usual habitat.