The two artists Nicl Barbro and Rahel Pötsch explore the notion of a garden as a place of paradise and yearning in contrast to the social space of the train station. Their dialogic works, which directly address the station gardens at both ends of the platform for tracks 3 and 4, are presented in the showcases at the train platform. In the course of the renovation and reconstruction work at the train station Harburg, beginning in 2019, the historic station gardens were redesigned, including flower beds, seating for travelers and an insect hotel for wild bees.
As the “smallest parcel of the world” (Foucault), a garden usually serves as a place of retreat and recreation, where people realize a conscious counter-design to domestic, urban, and other functional spaces through the artificial design or cultivation of nature. The station gardens in Harburg unfold against the backdrop of trains rattling by and the continual alternation of arrivals and departures. The slowly growing plants and the benches as an invitation to pause contrast the scene of constant transit.
The garden offered a controllable subject matter between still life and plein air painting for artists of the 20th century and served as an extension of the studio. Barbro and Pötsch touch on this ironically and examine the station gardens as a space of action for their art through the medium of the camera. Large-scale silhouettes that mimic natural forms spring into action as a painterly reference to the garden, artistically enlivening it. Performers humorously assume everyday situations on the train tracks. The showcases contain wooden objects, some of which are reminiscent of garden gates. These mark the transitory zone from a wildly urban living space to cultivated one. Using the performative strategy of mimicry, also employed by many insects and plants, Barbro and Pötsch explore the social, aesthetic, and ecological space of the station gardens.