Untitled, 2023

car installation with sound piece.
Bumper stickers, sound, light tubes.

January 20 –  February 19, 2023
Location: FIT freie internationale tankstelle, Schwedter Str. 262, 10119 Berlin

A small, pastel green car, of the sort usually driven by elderly ladies, is parked at an abandoned gas station. The hood is heavily dented; the car has been in an accident, and the driver is nowhere to be seen. It is not clear whether the gas station was the scene of the accident or not. If one approaches the car, a whisper becomes audible—music is playing from the car. The silence created by the aftermath of the accident is interrupted by the song’s guitar riff and lyrics:

She’s talking in whispers
Talking in whispers
She’s talking in Spanish
She’s talking in Spanish
When I was in the water
I was in the water
When I was on land
I was on land
When I was a bird
I was a bird

Luki von der Gracht’s car installation at the FIT gas station (freie internationale tankstelle), an abandoned gas station that is now used as a public cultural space, attracts the attention of passersby. The whole scene inspires questions and speculation. The car’s evident fragility—its cracks, dents, and extensive damage—suggests a past event and a driver’s involvement. Small details provide clues to the possible preferences and characteristics of the absent driver, evoking our associations. What really happened? Is the driver still alive? Can the song playing from the car give us any clues? It is a song of survival, of urgency, emphasizing the here and now; it is a song of fluidity, transformation, and freedom.
Further clues to the driver’s identity are suggested by the numerous stickers spread across the back of the car. Bearing statements related to FLINTA rights, spirituality, and creativity, the stickers fascinate the artist for the hints they offer about the car’s former owner—and for how the artist herself interprets the driver’s internalized images and stereotypes. The stickers draw attention to our complex relationships to cars as  socio-political, pop-cultural objects. The car thus appears not only as a means of transportation, but also as one of identification, a charged site of contemporary political and social debate.

LUKI VON DER GRACHT (b. in Aachen) is an author and artist working at the intersection between written and spoken word, collage, performance, photography, drawing, painting, video, and installation. She holds a Master of Visual Arts from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. A large part of von der Gracht’s work focuses on the search for community, identity, and purpose. She has exhibited and performed, among others, at: Cité International des Arts, Paris (2022); Kunsthalle am Hamburger Platz, Berlin (2022); Neuer Aachener Kunstverein (2022); Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2021); K21 Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf (2021); Antwerp Queer Arts Festival (2021); Mouches Volantes, Cologne (2020); Forum Freies Theater, Düsseldorf (2020); Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2019); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2019). She has received numerous stipends and awards, the most recent being from the Art Explora Foundation at Cité International des Arts, Paris (2022).