Kristen Pieroth


In her recent works, the young Berlin-based artist Kirsten Pieroth is concerned with invention—in particular, with the most famous inventor of them all, Thomas Alva Edison. The long title of Pieroth’s Berlin exhibition, “I regret that a previous engagement prevents me from accepting your kind invitation to dinner at your home, on Thursday evening, September seventeenth,” is taken from the inventor’s correspondence. But is the reason Edison gives for declining the invitation true? Or is it merely an invention? The artist put this question to the scholar in charge of Edison’s papers, who thought an invention likely; a great-grandson of the inventor concurred. Pieroth therefore asked a patent attorney about registering Edison’s probably invented reason for his nonappearance. Unsuccessfully, of course. But why? It was, after all, another invention by a man to whom more than a thousand patents

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