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Gaby Schulze
2013, Shell limestone

XY 1

Two sculptures made of shell limestone stand in front of the Timoféef-Ressovksy building. They are the size of medicine balls and have been raised to waist height on steel bars. This is the sculpture XY by Gaby Schulze.

Schulze studied painting and sculpture at the Conservatory of Art in Berlin-Weissensee, with a focus on stone sculpture and new media. She was an instructor at the Free Academy of Art in Berlin from 2001 to 2003. Her works can be seen in solo exhibitions, collections and on public display. Many are placed in natural locations that are accessible only with difficulty; others can be found at research institutes – not only in Buch, but also at the Charité and at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics. For the past few years Schulze has increasingly worked with digital modes of presentation. She currently lives and works in Berlin and Brandenburg.

Most of her project-related work involves themes from the life sciences. Two questions she frequently tackles are the relationship between form and function and what life actually is.

XY 2

The current work is inspired by microscopic images of human genetic material; here the theme is the smallest human chromosomes, which also are responsible for ”that little distinction” – the sex chromosomes.


The sculpture is made of shell limestone and depicts the X and Y chromosomes. At first the dark stone seems massive, in contrast to the stainless steel rods that the figures are mounted on. Those are delicate and shiny, which seems to make the chromosomes float lightly in the air. If you look closer, you see the glitter of quartz flakes in the stone. This causes the viewer to reflect on the question of form and function, or to make one‘s own associations. The glittering surface may also represent an allegory of the fascination that researchers feel for the objects of their study, which can also inspire the work of artists such as Gaby Schulze.

The sculpture was constructed with the help of public funds known as ”Kunst am Bau” for the promotion of art and architecture.

You can find an interview with Gaby Schulze (in german) here.