Kulturbüro Elisabeth Berlin
Kultur Raum geben

Metamorphoses - Exhibition at Café Lisbeth

Friday, 1. September 2023 to Sunday, 26. November 2023

Opening on Friday, September 1st at 6 pm

Café Lisbeth

Exhibition | Writing | Photography | Accompanying program

Robert Mingau, Kalle Wischnewski, 2009 (Ausschnitt)

With the exhibition METAMORPHOSES, Café Lisbeth provides space for many kinds of transformations: based on Ovid's epic poem, a graphic text work by Ingrid Göttlicher in Wärterhäuschen and, in the rooms of the café, Robert Mingau's Arbolyrikum, a series of photographic portraits of "tree poets" accompanied by their poems and biographies.


Singen heißt mich das Herz von Gestalten,
verwandelt in neue Leiber. Ihr Götter, gebt, 
habt ihr doch auch sie einst verwandelt, Gunst 
dem Beginnen und leitet mein stetig fließendes Lied 
vom ersten Ursprung der Welt bis herab zu unseren Tagen. 

Ovids Metamorphosen, Invokation (Buch I, 1-4) 

In both biology and mythology, the term metamorphosis refers to the fundamental principle of change and transformation. Neither caterpillar nor butterfly can be considered as solid beings, but are rather expressions of different stages in a process of unfolding life. Thus, in Ovid's epic poem, individuals transform into animals, trees, constellations, or even colors under the influence of the gods, pointing not only to the transience of life and its various states, but also to the connectivity of all things and the possibilities of communication between species, as well as with the gods. This exhibition focuses on the relationship between people and trees with the works of Ingrid Göttlicher and Robert Mingau. 

Ovid's words "Often as a stone and often as a tree you could be seen" are the source of inspiration for Ingrid Göttlicher's text work in the Wärterhaus across from Café Lisbeth, which draws on Ovid's telling of the myth of Philemon and Baucis. As a reward for their kindness, the couple is saved from witnessing each other's deaths by being transformed into two trees flanking the entrance to a temple.  

In the café, we present Robert Mingau's Arbolyrikum, a series of photographic portraits of "tree poets" accompanied by their poems and biographies. A self-proclaimed professor of the new scientific discipline of tree philology, Mingau takes us into a visionary world of poetry in nature, introduces us to a cast of characters, and gives us insight into the life, language, and literature of trees.

Image: Robert Mingau, Kalle Wischnewski, 2009 (detail).