Tue Greenfort ALGA

22 September 2021 – 29 January 2022

Tue Greenfort - Ulva I und III

Tue Greenfort, Ulva I und III, 2020/21, Glas, Holz, Acrylschnur bzw. Draht, jeweils 50 x 50 x 300 cm (variabel)
Foto: ERES-Stiftung, Thomas Dashuber

Tue Greenfort ALGA
© ERES-Stiftung

(Video: 42.96 MB)

His projects change the view of familiar nature and send the viewer on an unusual voyage of discovery: With ALGA, Danish conceptual artist and documenta participant Tue Greenfort (*1973) focuses on a group of organisms that defies clear biological systematics and classification and to which properties are attributed that could not be more contradictory: Algae can be poisonous and life-threatening, they are considered a superfood and possible remedy, their chemical similarity to petroleum components make them potential suppliers of biokerosene. Algae live in the sea and in fresh water, but also in the air and even on snow. This ambiguity and flexibility of a natural life form provide Tue Greenfort with the material for his artistic intervention, which begins in the exhibition space, incorporates the waters surrounding Munich and encourages visitors to participate.

ALGA is the first major solo exhibition in Munich by this internationally sought-after artist, who tirelessly mediates between living nature and art space. His group of algae works, developed especially for the ERES Foundation, includes crisp green glass works hanging from the ceiling, delicate paper tones that make visible traces of algae filtered from Tegernsee, Chiemsee, Staffelsee or Loisach lakes. On display are cyanotypes (iron blue prints) of algae - a tribute to the English botanist and illustrator Anna Atkins (1799-1871), who was one of the first to work with this photographic process. With plaster casts of beach sections containing shells, seaweed and pebbles, Greenfort builds a bridge from the sea to the Alps, from his native Denmark to his exhibition in Munich. In an algae laboratory, water samples brought along can be examined with a microscope, viewed on a large monitor, saved as a mobile phone photo via a special function and taken home. In this way, microcosm and macrocosm are united in the exhibition through the scientific and artistic image.

Against the background of current philosophical discourses on the anthropocentric view of the plant world, such as Timothy Morton’s book “Being Ecological” or Emanuele Coccia’s “The Roots of the World”, Tue Greenfort’s projects aim to change and question clichéd, human-serving views of nature. Instead of deconstructing a romantic notion of pristine environments and hierarchical biological classifications that still prevails today, his artistic work arouses curiosity about nature as it might be without the approach imagined by man. In doing so, he brings to light the astonishing characteristics and manifestations of a rather neglected, often barely visible and sometimes even perceived as repulsive group of living beings. Thus, the focus of his works is neither the usefulness of algae for humans nor the complaint about manipulation and destruction of the environment in the Anthropocene, but the effort to establish a new relationship and form of communication with plant life. “We can’t form the slightest concept of what nature actually means,” Greenfort said in a conversation, and continued: “Nature stands for the complex relationship between belonging and the unknown.” Algae, which have followed so many different paths in evolution because of their particular diversity and can therefore often no longer be counted as plants, are, in their contradictoriness in the face of rigid classifications, the ideal breeding ground for Greenfort in his search for a different form of coexistence between man and nature. His thoroughly artistic work encourages a direct and spontaneous experience of living nature. Glass as a material, craft tradition, scientific images as well as the public’s and the media’s understanding of nature are closely interwoven in Tue Greenfort’s works and are the ingredients of his artistic reflection.

Those who follow his algae expeditions come back after a rainy summer day at an Upper Bavarian lake with a different view, forgetting Instagram pictures of sunny Alpine foothills and that rainy weather is “bad” weather. And so the contemplation of his artistic works also encourages one to move out of static systems, to change and readapt. Just as algae, as one of the oldest forms of life on earth, have done extremely successfully for millions of years.

Sabine Adler

[1] Tue Greenfort in an interview with Zoë Gray on the occasion of the exhibition “Photosynthesis”, Witte de With Museum, 2006

Tue Greenfort - Staffelsee bei Uffing - Wasserfilterung

Tue Greenfort, Staffelsee bei Uffing, 2021, Wasserfilterung, Durchmesser: 32 cm
Foto: ERES-Stiftung

Tue Greenfort - Earthscape

Tue Greenfort, Earthscape (Coast I), 2020, Gips, Sand, Stein, Pflanze, Seegras, Muscheln, 21,5 x 21,5 x 7 cm
Courtesy the artist und König Galerie Berlin, London, Seoul, Foto: Roman März


  • Tuesday, 19 October 2021, 7 pm

    Gesundheit aus dem Meer – Über das Potenzial von Algen in der Medizin
    Prof. Dr. Alexa Klettner
    Professur für Experimentelle Retinologie, Kiel Marine Science – Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Meereswissenschaften, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel / Klinik für Ophthalmologie (Augenheilkunde), Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Adjunct Professur für Experimentelle Ophthalmologie, Kasr-Al-Aini Universität, Kairo, Ägypten

  • Thursday, 28 October 2021, 7 pm

    Klima-Influencer Alge: Evolution, Vielfalt, Ökologie und Ressourcenpotenzial einer der ältesten Lebensformen der Erde
    Prof. Dr. Thomas Friedl
    Professur für Experimentelle Phykologie, Wissenschaftlicher Direktor der Sammlung von Algenkulturen, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

  • Thursday, 11 November 2021, 7 pm

    Algen – Der Treibstoff- und Material-Lieferant für eine klimaneutrale Luftfahrtindustrie von morgen?
    Prof. Dr. Thomas Brück
    Inhaber des Werner Siemens-Lehrstuhls für Synthetische Biotechnologie, Direktor des Algentechnikums, Technische Universität München

  • Thursday, 13 January 2022, 7 pm

    Von der Alge bis zum Fisch: Die Bedeutung der Gewässerdynamik für die Lebensgemeinschaft der Isar
    Michael von Siemens
    Dipl.-Biologe, Sachverständiger für Fischerei und Gewässerökologie i.R., München



Mikroskopieren – Leben im Wassertropfen

Die Ausstellung ALGA umfasst ein interaktives AlgenLAB. Wir laden die Besucher ein, eigene Wasser- bzw. Algenproben in einem kleinen Behälter mitzubringen. Das Material kann mit Anleitung unter einem Mikroskop betrachtet werden. Unser Mikroskop hat auch eine Handyfunktion, mit der das Mikroskopbild auf dem Smartphone gespeichert und mit nach Hause genommen werden kann.

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von ZEISS Microscopy und der Mikrobiologischen Vereinigung München e.V.


Konzeptkunst rund um Algen
© BR Fernsehen, 06. Oktober 2021

(Video: 46.49 MB)


Expeditionen ins Reich der Algen
© Bayern2, kulturWelt, 22. September 2021, Barbara Knopf

(Audio: 13.43 MB)


  • Alga: Tue Greenfort entführt in die Welt der Algen
    Parnass, 04/2021, Judith Koller
    Artikel als pdf

  • Künstlerisches Biotop
    Gallerytalk, 27. Oktober 2021, Quirin Brunnmeier
    Artikel auf gallerytalk.net

  • Konzeptkunst rund um Algen
    BR Fernsehen, 06. Oktober 2021
    Video auf br.de

  • Faszinierende Doppelnatur
    Abendzeitung, 06. Oktober 2021, Roberta De Righi
    Artikel als pdf

  • Culture Talk: Tue Greenfort – Alga in der ERES-Stiftung
    München TV, 05. Oktober 2021
    Video auf muenchen.tv

  • Algen für die Welt
    Münchner Feuilleton, Oktober 2021, Joachim Goetz
    Artikel als pdf

  • Tue Greenfort ALGA
    IN München, Oktober 2021, Franz Furtner
    Artikel als pdf

  • Tue Greenforts Blick auf die Algen erweitern Weltsicht!
    München TV, 23. September 2021
    Video auf muenchen.tv

  • Expeditionen ins Reich der Algen
    Bayern2, kulturWelt, 22. September 2021, Barbara Knopf
    Audio auf br.de, 15:06 bis 20:58 Min.

  • Unterschätzte Überlebenskünstler
    Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15. September 2021, Jürgen Moises
    Artikel auf sueddeutsche.de