Born in 1938, ever since his earliest works, the German artist Michael Badura has investigated the mechanisms of the image and of verbal, visual and cultural perception: characteristic elements with which to decode the messages and everyday experiences of men through compositions, actions and processes where the main aim is to tell the story of contemporary reality. His research has a biological, anthropological and ecological framework to it. In the work entitled Wasser ist nicht Wasser – Wasserfarben (various materials, glass, wooden case, approx. 100x150cm, 1967-1969) the artist used dozens of ‘test tubes’ inside which water is mixed with a wide range of elements, thus altering its ‘status’ and the relative coloured residues.
A reflection, by ‘samples’, from purity to contamination, dealing with a highly contemporary theme, i.e. water as a primary resource for humanity. The work is linked to the installation, designed by the staff of the Shit Museum, which ‘recounts’ pharmacological formulae obtained using the excrement of various living beings, as listed by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia (1st century AD). The same room is also home to a coprolite, a fossil of dung from a million years ago, and a votive in terracotta from the Etruscan-Lazio area (3rd-2nd century BC) which reproduces the internal organs of the human body, underlining the coming together of prehistory and history, chemistry and art, nature and culture with ‘findings’ from various distant eras.
Gaspare Luigi Marcone (April 2015)