burger burger De MECHTILD BÖGER

No Child’s Play

The Bathing Costumes and Accessories

They appear like extraterrestrial, luxurious lingerie. Instead of gentle and flattering silk, the wearer’s body is enveloped and her head adorned by a delicate braid made up of small, synthetic building components, originally belonging to the simple children’s toy "Knüpferli". A game, which, in its simplicity and naïve charm, strikes one as strangely alien and anachronistic in our present time. It is one of those toy’s, that has stood the test of time and allows childlike creativity, dexterity and fantasy full bent.

It may have been those properties which attracted Böger to employ this material in a series of works. The always identical basic component is a rectangular piece with a circular centre. Like a molecule structure, it can be bent intertwined and linked at its corners in a number of different ways.
While Böger’s initial point of departure is determined by the components original shape, she transcends its limitations through imaginative new combination and skilful workmanship.

Rüsselkäfer aus Knüpferli

The animals she creates using this technique take shape during her creative process and vague forms are transformed into tangible figures coming to life. In its spherical shape Böger utilizes the uniform structure of the Knüpferli–game, to create a perfectly harmonious and symmetrical shape, like a sea urchin’s skeleton.

In contrast to this, the bathing costume and cap were inspired by the form of a female torso, specifically the beautifully arched female curve of the waistline. The result is a shape which appears strangely technoid. It evokes the image of a computer animated creature which ought to be defined by spatial coordinates and has to be brought to life.

Fittingly, the installation Bathing Collection by Böger is presented in a changing room:

The artist created various bathing suits complemented by extravagant accessories such as a bonnet. This bonnet recalls the delicate pearl headdress worn by the fashion-conscious lady of the 20s. When the potential wearer of the mask now enters the changing room, an enormous Knüpferli–Fly hovers in front of her.

The artist counters the originally limited shape of the simple component by using imagination and wit. She thus continually creates new variety out of the monotony. In her work she uses the seemingly boring uniformity as an occasion to meticulously and systematically fathom the limits which she then overrides.

Using those techniques Böger has already created 220 different knot–variants. The artworks that emerge are transparent, rigid, fragile and purposeless clothing for an imaginary being.

Having human forms this imaginary being offers unlimited room for associations.

Within this interplay a single garment takes on a unique position. Considering the before mentioned bathing costume it can be assumed that the garment can in fact be interpreted as a bathrobe. As with those other exhibits that have been presented in an installation at a swimming pool, Böger now too refers to the changing room the works are shown in.
Continuing, more serious connotations are permissible:

Through its exposed position, the materials stiffness and its coloring the onlooker is reminded of the cloak of the Queen of Heaven or, more generally, of a priest’s habit. A simplistic child’s toy is transformed into a complex garment filled many levels of meaning. At a second glance the seemingly well-known changes into something confusing and unsettling. The witful and charming artwork thus poses a puzzle to the viewer, which is exactly why Bögers creations are so appealing.

© Kathrin Golka, 2005, wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin der Kunstsammlungen Böttcherstraße, Bremen
Translation from German: Teresa Sophie Böger, 2020, B.A. English and Celtic Studies