Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger

(Editor’s Note: I first met Gerda and Jörg in the summer of 2006 while I was living in San Antonio. They were there doing an Artpace residency. What I remember most about them was their fun spirit and that’s how approached this short chat with them. This article first appeared on NeoAztlán in 2007)

Gerda Steiner’s and Jörg Lenzlinger’s work deals with an adaptation of nature through synthesis. The Swiss artists’ currency is a Hegelian dialectic that gets an empirical flip with the use of objects such as taxidermied animals and insects, glistening ponds of motor oil, dead trees and plants, and flowing streams of chemicals. Their work deals frankly with life and death, good and evil, hope and despair — all the good stuff. – Esteban Peralta

Esteban Peralta: Hometown?

Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger: Uster, Switzerland

EP: Where do you live now?

GSJL: In Uster, Switzerland.

EP: Describe your work past, present and future in 50 words or less.

GSJL: It was white. Then it became red. That’s why it is pink now.

EP: What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

GSJL: We would be two crocodiles in a shallow river.

EP: What do you love about being an artist?

GSJL: That we can be crocodiles if we like.

EP: What do you hate about being an artist?

GSJL: There is no hate.

EP: Favorite Web sites?

GSJL: Google

EP: Favorite restaurants?

GSJL: Korean food and forest cooking.

EP: What are you currently reading?

GSJL: “Intelligence in Nature: An Inquiry into Knowledge” by Jeremy Narby

EP: Favorite way to travel?

GSJL: By cargo ship.

EP: Favorite place to hang out?

GSJL: Where the ant hills are and in the kitchens of friends.

EP: Uster would be so much better if?

GSJL: More wild pigs would run around.

EP: Favorite writer?

GSJL: The ones who write for Lettre International.

EP: Favorite music group?

GSJL: Frogs in a pond.

EP: You have three hours and 24 Swiss Francs ($20 US) to kill in Uster. What do you do?

GSJL: Recently we found 20 bucks on the street. The same day we had the chimney sweeper in our house (he brings luck). So we went to play the lottery with the 20 found bucks and we won 100 bucks. That’s the story.

Featured image: Entladung (detail, 2012)

Visit Gerda Steiner’s and Jörg Lenzlinger’s Web site at

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