Archival pigment print, 32.5 x 50 inches.

Studio + Laboratory: Workshops of Knowledge

Be it artistic works or scientific discoveries, the end results are generally all that remain visible of the creative process. What happens behind closed doors in the laboratory or studio tends to be as invisible as it is mysterious. Stefanie Bürkle, a German artist and visual arts professor, chose to delve into these sites of creativity, using large- and medium-format analogue cameras to photograph scientists’ laboratories and artists’ studios in Berlin.

Bürkle’s photographic works present intriguing visual puzzles. Each is a bewildering mosaic of storage shelves, work benches, tools, equipment, and half-finished projects that convey a sense of energy and creativity. The viewer is compelled to imagine what these spaces look like when populated and what types of activities would take place. The photographs reveal a curious similarity between studio and laboratory. Would we see the same similarities if we were watching artists and scientists at work? Perhaps, but not necessarily. By pointing her lens at the work spaces rather than the workers, Bürkle encourages us to look past some of the superficial differences between artists and scientists and to consider whether at a deeper level there are significant parallels in the creative processes of the two disciplines. Her work may help us to better understand the nature of creativity.

Stefanie Bürkle is an artist and a professor of fine art at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. She studied scenography in Paris and fine art at the Berlin University of the Arts. Her artistic practice ranges from painting and photography to video and installation. In addition to highlighting the connections between art and science, her art and research focus on a critical examination of urban space, exploring topics such as construction sites and facades, architecture as scenography, and theme parks and tourism.

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Studio + Laboratory: Workshops of Knowledge by Stefanie Bürkle will be on view at the National Academy of Sciences, 2101 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC, from August 1, 2019, through January 31, 2020. The exhibition was featured at the Berlin Museum of Photography from February 1 through March 3, 2019, and will be on view at the Haus am Lützowplatz in Berlin from November 27, 2019, through January 5, 2020. For more information, visit the artist’s site at

For more information, visit the artist’s site at

Cite this Article

Bürkle, Stefanie. “Studio + Laboratory: Workshops of Knowledge.” Issues in Science and Technology 35, no. 4 (Summer 2019): 44–53.

Vol. XXXV, No. 4, Summer 2019