Since 1997 Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger have been developing site-specific ephemeral, burgeoning projects that change over time - halfway between the biological and the artificial. For each exhibition, they tailor their visual vocabulary to the distinctive features of the new setting. Their installation Giardino calante in San Stae Church (Venice Biennale, 2003) brought them worldwide renown. Through their art they examine the concept of fertility, a notion often associated with chemical fertilisers but which above all conjures up the idea of the original energy from which flow all life forms. Enthralled by the creation process of living beings, in 2010 they designed an extraordinary soup of coloured crystals in the château's dining room at Chaumont-sur-Loire, which spilled its crystals over the banqueting tablecloth in surreal slow motion.
The Cristallisateur, which is exhibited in the tower of the tower-flanked entrance, is a large transparent cylinder holding a fertiliser: a heated urea solution. This solution cools as the day goes on, and a needle-like crystal materialises - a living, ever-changing showpiece that is never the same. The two artists see this exhibit as a metaphor of the thought process. Ideas spring forth through the day from our thoughts, in the form of large crystals. At night, they partially dissolve. The installation conveys the intelligence of an “organic” substance produced artificially.