How new ideas emerge - encounter with the German artists Christa and Conny J. Winter
In her latest projects the German artists Christa Winter (paintings) and Conny J. Winter (photography) have worked with companies that want to connect with people and find out more about their corporate soul. We have visited the German provider of IT services DATAGROUP at its site in Boeblingen near Stuttgart. We were guided through the exhibition on two office floors by Sarah Berger-Niemann, Head of Corporate Communications at DATAGROUP.
Christa Winter with Sarah Berger-Niemann in front of the art print "Polygone & Kompagnons 2017" installed at the entrance area of DATAGROUP. Photo: jd.
For DATAGROUP, Christa and Conny J. Winter have selected 18 artworks and have arranged them on the two office floors. All pieces of art – art prints of Christa’s paintings and Conny’s photos – communicate with their direct environment. They reflect the lights in the room, the colors of the furniture, the geometric forms of the architecture - they are connected with everything that is around.
Each work of art is mounted on an invisible sound absorbing construction and reduces the noise in the office. Yet, all paintings and photographs seem to be in a constant quiet dialogue with the people working next to them - offering different perspectives, evoking various different thoughts...
"MUSEUM MAC" by Conny J. Winter. Photo print with sound absorber. Photo: Conny J. Winter
JD: How does art help us to find new ideas?
„New ideas can emerge, when we connect things that initially have nothing in common. If we connect and combine different worlds – such as economy, business and technology with fine arts, creative and unexpected new thoughts can occur." (Christa Winter)
Christa Winter in front of MIDEVA 2004. Art print with sound absorber. Photo: jd
"How can art connect and motivate people? How can it help us to generate innovative new solutions? With the project 'DATAGROUP goes Art' we wanted to confront ourselves with the question of how art can inspire us to think and work in different ways. (Sarah Berger-Niemann)
Christa Winter and Sarah Berger-Niemann working in front of "EUDOCIMUS 2017". Photo: jd.
What does this story about art have to do with ambidexterity?
The American neuroscientist Nancy C. Andreasen recently introduced in an interview with NPR.org a specific type of ambidexterity that she calls „intellectual ambidexterity“: the gift of being equally „good at two different fields“. In her research on creativity she describes a specific type of person that – in addition to his or her major discipline – is capable of diving into a completely different area where she or he is equally skilled. Along with this new discipline, these people discover another distinct talent: a cross-disciplinary capability to connect the two worlds and develop interdisciplinary new approaches.
In an interview with the German business magazine brandeins, Andreasen recommends that devisions and silos open up and that firms stimulate creativity and interdisciplinary exchange among people. If we transfer this insight to the corporate world, the DATAGROUP art project is an excellent example for triggering cross-disciplinary thinking among people in their everyday working environment. Perhaps one might say, watching art does not turn us into an artist. But it does affect the way we look at the world by offering a different perspective on things. It helps us to gain ideas from different sources and cross mental boundaries.
DATAGROUP is one of Germany's leading IT service providers. About 1,900 employees at locations throughout Germany design, implement and operate business applications and IT infrastructures. With the project "DATAGROUP goes Art" the company deals with the question of how art can inspire people to think and work in differently and create innovative digital solutions. www.datagroup.de
CHRISTA WINTER studied in Münster, where she was a student of Prof. Kuno Gonschior. Her work is represented in several public and private collections such as Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Daimler Kunst Sammlung, L-Bank Stuttgart, EnBW AG, DSV Deutscher Sparkassenverlag, Jenoptik Jena and installations at Sammlung Froehlich. Christa Winter was born in Duisburg, Germany. She lives and works in Stuttgart together with photographer Conny J. Winter. www.christa-winter.com
CONNY J. WINTER was born in Ansbach, Germany. He studied Graphic Design in Stuttgart and has founded his studio in 1967 in Stuttgart. Conny J. Winter is member of the Type Directors Club (TDC) New York and member of the Art Directors Club (ADC) Germany. www.connywinter.com.
Andreasen, Nancy C. (2017): „Super Leute“ – Interview. In: brand eins, Thema Innovation 4 (7), S. 66–71.Online unter: https://www.brandeins.de/wissen/brand-eins-thema-innovation/innovation-laeuft/super-leute/ .
Creativity, Learned or Innate? Interview with Dr. Nancy Andreasen. In: NPR.org vom 15.12.2006. Online unter: http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=6631146 .
Andreasen, Nancy C. (2005): The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius. New York: Dana Press.