Current notice

Due to the current Corona Ordinance, Villa Merkel will be closed for an unforeseeable period of time.
You will find daily changes on our homepage.

16 May 2021 – 15 August 2021


Gabriela Oberkofler –
Api étoilé / A growing archive


Start of research: 1 April 2020

Opening: Sunday, 16 May 2021, 11 am

Api étoilé – A Growing Archive focuses on agricultural crops. From one continent to another, seeds and field reports are collected with respect to their cultivation. After several months of travel and research, the seeds will be handed over to interested hobby gardeners for the purpose of growing a year’s worth of plants. In the following year, they will be displayed as yearlings in the inner courtyard of the Villa Merkel along with drawings, watercolours and video-works. They  constitute an opulent, initial kitchen garden of a new type which, as if arising casually, offers a contrast to the park which surrounds the Villa Merkel and, with its anthropomorphic reshaping of nature, is designed according to the ideal of English landscape gardens. After the plants of this kitchen garden have produced new seeds in turn, these will be added to the growing archive by the gardeners participating in the project. In this way the archive constantly grows and will be continued in an expanded form past the two-year pilot phase.

Experience and knowledge are successively added on highly diverse levels.

We thank our cooperation partners: the Freilicht Museum Beuren and the Kunsthaus Dresden.

Because it is currently not possible to visit the exhibition, the first net-based formats on the project will start on 16 May. The digital offer on the project homepage is constantly being expanded.





Supported by




Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt – Förderung von künstlerischen und kulturellen Projekten

Since February 2019




Augmented Reality

by Barbara Herold

In the app BELLE & APHRODITE for smartphone or tablet, it is possible to experience a walk-in audio-visual metamorphosis of virtual plants.

The 3D plant BELLE extends across the entire Merkelpark. As an interactive form-cloud, it leads visitors, on the basis of data regarding their location and movement, to a virtual rose at the centre of the park.

APHRODITE was designed for the skylit atrium. In recurrent audio-visual loops, the 3D installation develops into a Phalaenopsis, a familiar type of orchid. APHRODITE can be viewed from all perspectives and, in its overlapping of simulation space and actual space, plays with the experience of abstraction, proportional relationships, proximity and distance.

Barbara Herold (*1977) directs her attention to the shaping of reality through the media. She investigates structures and phenomena which have established themselves through the influence of media technology on society; she develops her own systems on the basis of prevalent design practices such as computation and algorithms. Her works arise in the dynamic field between analogue and digital technology.



App Store & Google Play Store

Barbara Herold BELLE & APHRODITE, Seit Februar 2019

Since  May 18th, 2014


Lois Weinberger – Mobiler Garten

The ‘Mobile Garden’ of the artist and Documenta participant Lois Weinberger, was set up in front of the winter garden of the Villa Merkel, where it will remain for an extended time. In its wildness, it contrasts with the surrounding Merkelpark, whose well-kept greenery is reminiscent of English landscape gardens.

A field formed out of yellow plastic tubs filled with soil has been exposed to the free forces of nature. Over time, pioneer and ruderal plants have come to occupy the space in a spontaneous colonisation. Nature unfolds in accordance with the dynamism of its own laws in a veritably paradisal, because free manner. A Garden of Eden established itself.

Over the years, this natural process of colonisation began to change into a form of decaThe tubs gradually become bleached and decompose. The plastic particles blend with the soil and the plants; after decades, rainfall can be expected to have washed the underlying area clean again.


The garden is a fundamental form of our encounter with nature. We are familiar with gardens that aim at producing crops as well as those that are set up as beatific sites of contemplation. Affinities with paradise are possessed by the fruit and vegetable garden, the Baroque pleasure garden or, as an oasis amid the city, the public garden – in Esslingen, namely the Maille and the Merkelpark.

Lois Weinberger wässert den 'Mobilen Garten (2014)', Foto: Daniela WolfLois Weinberger, Mobiler Garten, 2014Lois Weinberger, Mobiler Garten, 2014 (Foto 2018)