Sarah Doerfel

Sarah Doerfel shows her new work "TRUCE" (2022) in N U R T U R Æ L
Digital Video, 15' 51"
a film by Sarah Doerfel
Sound design: Vincent Scheers and Sarah Doerfel

Humans and medicinal leeches live in a complex relationship. The parasitic part is only at first glance easy to identify, as boundaries between mutual and one-way benefits are fluid. Employed for healing diseases for thousands of years, the worms are now in use as non-sterile medical devices and became indispensable especially in reconstructive surgery. However, they can also harm humans if they colonize unnoticed. Today in much of Europe, leeches have to be imported or bred in farms, as they have been overfished for their healing properties and were eventually eradicated. After medicinal use, it is common practice to kill the worms. TRUCE shows the daily breeding routine in Europe's largest leech farm and the relationship between Ryūki and his private pet leeches. Ryūki founded the initiative "Leechylove", which advocates keeping leeches in a species-appropriate manner after medical application. His leeches feed on his blood, relieving his chronic pain. The interspecies community lives in a close physical relationship of dependence, which Ryūki calls symbiosis.

Sarah Doerfel's works tell stories of different species living and dying together, especially with regard to the dynamic tension between symbiosis and parasitism. The mutual unavoidable dependence of the inhabitants of the earth opens up a wide field for speculative relationships. Interactions of individuals are examined for their (micro-)biological, medical-historical or cultural-scientific background. Resulting narratives materialize in video works, sculptures and installations, often accompanied by text or sound and are presented site-specifically.
The artist studied Visual Arts with Prof. Olaf Nicolai at the AdbK Munich and photography at the University of Westminster, London. Her works have been shown at home and abroad, a.o at Museum Hamburger Bahnhof/ Berlin, the Macro Museo/ Rome and the Kunstverein Munich. She received grants from the Stiftung Kunstfonds and the LfA Förderbank Bayern.