the long sleep of amber

Peles Empire

E-WERK Flag Commission 2021

Opening Saturday 1 May

E-WERK Luckenwalde Turbine Hall and Entrance


About the E-WERK Flag Commission 2021

For E-WERK Luckenwalde, artistic duo Peles Empire has created a large-scale installation for the building’s historic flagpoles and its impressive Turbine Hall, drawing on materials including Jesmonite, coal ash, ceramics, photography and textiles. This work connects the material history of the power station with contemporary processes in a fitting tribute to the transformation of E-WERK from a relic of the fossil fuel era into a contemporary ecological power station. Peles Empire has cast several large jesmonite panels with samples of vestigal coal dust from the power stations furnaces to create permanent archival panels of E-WERK’s history. These panels will be presented alongside several large-scale ceramic works based on drawings from early experiments with electricity from the Ancient World and mythology. These ceramic works will be fired using the 3 day process of a pit firing in the E-WERK Grounds and in the Performance Electrics’ Kunststrom wood-chip oven, which, since 2019, has provided renewable electricity to the entire building, the contemporary art programme and the German National Grid. The flags will abstractedly denote these influences and combine imagery of early experiments in electricity, engineering blueprints from E-WERK’s archive and photography from the pit firing to form a public outdoor textile commission. Peles' Empire have entropically cocooned natural elements of the power station, from carbon to heat, via the contingent processes of ceramics and casting, to hint at the fleeting precarity of time, history and social innovation.

The exhibition has been curated by Helen Turner (Artistic Director and Chief Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde) and Adriana Tranca (Assistant Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde).

Dendera Temple, Qena Egypt, 2014*

About Peles Empire

Peles Empire live and work in Berlin, Germany and take their name from Peleș Castle, a summer residence built for King Carol I at the end of the 19th Century in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. In their work Peles Empire explore the potential of simulacra, copies, originals and reproduction - shifting processes to abstract perspectives. Their work has recently been shown at the Künstlerhaus Graz, Art Encounters Biennial (Timișoara), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), Edinburgh, Kunstverein Hannover and Skulptur Projekte Münster.


About the annual Flag Commission

Peles Empire were invited to produce work in response to the building's historic flagpoles at the entrance of E-WERK Luckenwalde. The Flag Commission is an annual commissioning opportunity for an artist or collective to create an outdoor installation inspired by and for display on the three flag poles, which are on display at the building’s impressive entrance. The exhibition has been curated by Helen Turner (Artistic Director and Chief Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde) and Adriana Tranca (Assistant Curator, E-WERK Luckenwalde). As an outdoor commission, the flags will be on view to the public as they walk, drive or cycle through the city of Luckenwalde until December 2021. The inaugural E-WERK Luckenwalde Flag Commission was created by artist Lucy Joyce.

*Denderar light controversially used proof that the ancient Egyptians had access to electricity in the crypt of the ancient Egyptian Goddess Hathor.

Peles Empire at E-WERK Luckenwalde, 2019. Image courtesy of Katherine Thomson.