02 June – 01 September 2019



focuses on the formation of communities from perspectives of contemporary art. Social diversity arises, not in the shape of disconnected, mono-cultural islands, but instead through contact, through exchange, through cooperation. The  cohesion of societies is characterised by a unifying element, whether this is shared values or concepts of identity, whether it consists of norms or of rules. But also inherent to mutual connection is always an aspect of delimitation and exclusion. The question as to what constitutes the sense of “we” is loaded with explosive power — also with regard to politics.


Participating in GOOD SPACE — COMMUNITIES, OR THE PROMISE OF HAPPINESS  are internationally active artists namely Martha Atienza, Fatma Bucak, Melanie Gilligan, Mikhail Karikis, Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley, Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger, Gabriela Oberkofler, Katrin Plavčak, Tabita Rezaire, Julika Rudelius, Lin May Saeed, Rob Voerman and Alberto Zamora Ruíz.

Curated by Andreas Baur, Julia Herrmann, Johannes Kaufmann and Anka Wenzel.

Admittance Fee: Euro 5,00; Reduced: Euro 3,00 /1,00
Family Card: Euro 8,00
Annual Ticket Villa Merkel: Euro 10,00




17 March – 5 May 2019


Frau A. S. trifft Volker Böhringer

aus der Graphischen Sammlung der Stadt
zu Gast: Fabian Treiber

Opening: Sunday, March 17th, 11 am

Frau A. S. trifft Volker Böhringer (Miss A. S. meets Volker Böhringer) presents works from the Graphic Collection of the City of Esslingen. Besides the anonymously named portrait of a woman by Emil Nolde, a large selection of works on paper, sketches and drafts by the Esslingen artist Volker Böhringer, who died in 1961, can be seen which for the most part never been exhibited before. One of them is a severe chest piece of a man, laid out as an ink brush drawing in crosshatching. In addition, drawings and paintings on paper by Max Pechstein, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, August Macke, Albrecht von Hancke, Otto Dix and Dorothea Schulz enrich the selection.

The young Stuttgart painter Fabian Treiber will have a guest appearance with works from two current series of paintings on paper. New acquisitions from the past year will also be shown, such as a video work by Annika Larsson, a charcoal drawing by the Cologne-based painter Andreas Schulze, and a digital 40-part herbarium by the Munichbased media artist Barbara Herold.

Based on this, Barbara Herold has developed
Belle – Aphrodite, an Augmented Reality project especially for the Villa Merkel and the Merkelpark, which offers the audience on their digital devices a colour noise that mergesthe real and the digital world and forms a virtual flower in the park and the atrium of Villa Merkel. The free app can be downloaded from the

App Store

and the

Google Play Store.

Curated by Andreas Baur and Julia Herrmann

Böhringer, Volker "DuestereVorstadtstrasse" 1935Böhringer, Volkerm "DuettimKZ" (1947)Boehringer Volker, "Kriegskrueppel" (um1948)Volker Böhringer, Ohne Titel (Männliche Halbfigur), um 1948Böhringer, Volker "Ohne Titel" MaennlicheHalbfigur (um1948)

Seit Februar 2019



Augmented Reality

von Barbara Herold


In der App BELLE & APHRODITE für Smartphone oder Tablet wird eine begehbare audio-visuelle Metamorphose von virtuellen Pflanzen erfahrbar.


Die 3D-Pflanze BELLE erstreckt sich über den gesamten Merkelpark. Als interaktive Formenwolke führt sie die Besucher_innen anhand von Standort- und Bewegungsdaten zu einer virtuellen Rose in Zentrum des Parks.

APHRODITE ist für den Lichthof der Villa Merkel konzipiert. Die 3D-Installation entfaltet sich im wiederkehrenden audio-visuellen Loop zu einer Phalaenopsis, einer gängigen Orchideen-Zuchtpflanze. APHRODITE kann aus allen Perspektiven betrachtet werden und spielt mit der Erfahrung von Abstraktion, Größenverhältnissen, Nähe und Distanz in der Überlagerung von Simulationsraum und echtem Raum.



Barbara Herold (*1977) befasst sich mit der medialen Gestaltung von Realität. Sie untersucht Strukturen & Phänomene, die sich durch den Einfluss von Medientechnologie auf die Gesellschaft etabliert haben und entwickelt anhand gängiger Gestaltungspraktiken wie Computation und Algorithmen eigene Systeme. Ihre Arbeiten entstehen im Spannungsfeld von analoger und digitaler Technik.


BELLE & APHRODITE entstand im Auftrag der Villa Merkel als “Kunst im Freien 2018” für den Merkelpark der Stadt Esslingen. Konzept & Idee: Barbara Herold, Klangkomposition: Kim_Twiddle, Code: Frank Groh, Mastering/Concept für 3D-Audio Separation: Simon Kummer 



App Store & Google Play Store

[Translate to Englisch:] Herold, Barbara "APHRODITE", Lichthof Villa Merkel[Translate to Englisch:] Herold, Barbara "APHRODITE", Lichthof Villa Merkel[Translate to Englisch:] Herold, Barbara "BELLE", Merkelpark[Translate to Englisch:] Herold, Barbara "BELLE", Merkelpark[Translate to Englisch:] Herold, Barbara "BELLE", Merkelpark

Since  May 18th, 2014


Lois Weinberger – Mobiler Garten




The ‘Mobile Garden’ of the artist and Documenta participant Lois Weinberger, who lives in Vienna, 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.