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MACHEN -  Susan Donath & Vroni Schwegler

Courtesy @sibyllelienhard

11. April 2021

12 - 2 pm

The documentation of the show and Sonja Müller's Text you find here.

Fish, Death and Flower


With Susan Donath and Vroni Schwegler, two artists are invited to enter into dialogue as part of the exhibition series „“ which connects their years of exploration of the theme of death.

Susan Donath works on a conceptual exploratory level, while Vroni Schwegler takes a direct approach to the subject in her artworks. Donath's investigations result in stringent sculptural works, Schwegler's in sensual painting.


Susan Donath's artistic interest lies in the examination of sepulchral culture (the culture of the dead and dying), which flows into her work in various ways: a Snow White in a closed coffin cremated Stasi files in an urn, or real dead bodies in a gravesite at the Střekov cemetery in Ústí nad Labem, which she has maintained permanently since 2008.

Susan Donath studied at the Dresden University of Fine Arts and was a master student of Christian Sery.  She lives and works in Dresden and Ústí nad Labem.


Vroni Schwegler has devoted her artistic work to the subject of death for many years. The motifs of her paintings, drawings, and prints are fish, chickens, and rabbits slaughtered for consumption; accident victims, such as birds that die when they crash into glass facades; and flies, bumblebees, and wasps that she leaves on the windowsill.  Since March 2020, she has been painting flowers, which she would like to show here for the first time in Frankfurt.

Vroni Schwegler studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and was a master student of Hermann Nitsch. She works and lives in Frankfurt am Main.



Vroni Schwegler writes in an email, August 2020:
Just now Susan Donath and I were on the phone for the first time to prepare for the experiment of a one-day exhibition in the STUDIOSPACE initiated by Carolin Kropff.
What unites us is the years of dealing with the topic of death. We address it with different means, from different sides and with entirely different perspectives.
The approach could hardly be more different. Here the conceptual, researching and ordering, intellectual work, which leads to the sculptor's stringent work, there the direct, sensual, painterly grip. Here the historical and political perspective, there the here and now. This is how it seems at first glance. But that alone would also be very dull, and we prefer to stay with the unifying elements and hope that something more interesting to show and to see will emerge.
In the beginning, there is a fish. It is an early and familiar motif for both of us. The dead fish, its iconography, its environment, the way it is kept, all at once, the most diverse aspects are on the table. Susan says: I bring the work with me.
Maybe it will fit.
I want to show some new flower paintings. I have started to work on them in March. Corona-conditioned, without knowing the reason exactly, why after decades of animal still life painting suddenly this motive change was necessary.
A little bit I am struggling, because I am afraid that flower paintings with the one word "pretty" could be disqualified and dismissed.
But Susan sees even in the images of the flower, death visions and carnage.
I'm not sure if this is due to the quality of the reproduction, my images or the projection of her.  But it reassures me. And Susan knows more about it, of course. She knows the ancestors of my flower painting and traces the subtleties of iconography. In the context of the exhibition, she will respond to my paintings with the fragment of a funeral crown, which is supposed to consist of chicory. For this, she will show a print ­­" what remains", so that it does not become too cosy.
The artist talk will be based on the three terms "fish death flower".
But Susan has also prepared ten questions that she wants to ask me. She has not yet revealed them. Questions from the audience to both of us are welcome.

The exhibition is kindly supported by Kulturamt Frankfurt und Frauenreferat Frankfurt.

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