Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Berlin-based architect Andreas Müller has conceived and built an architectural structure for the exhibition Temporary City. The artefact is a wooden transparent screen that demarcates several perpendicular corners and half-open rooms inside of the exhibition venue. Under and above eye level two blue (himmelblau) bars divide the space. The artists involved are using the following two terms: ‘space’ for the exhibition room; ‘structure’ for the architectural element. The architect – who, just like every decent architect, has left the building shortly after the ‘inhabitants’ arrived – has given no fixed rules on how this ‘structure’ should be used.
The works of art involved in Temporary City are made up out of very different media: photographs, paintings, drawings, videos, performances, installations, sculptures, artefacts and in-situ interventions. Each artist now needs to find the right way of using the structure, in order to present his or her work – of course in mutual agreement with the other artists. Temporary City is an experiment with the powers that dominate art. But how much power from above can art shake down, without losing some of its own power? Is it possible for a work of art to create, by means of its creator, its own way of showing itself? Some works of art are, for the moment, trudging their way inside of the space – like PacMan did – by eating and directly digesting the structure. If a neutral, self-evident and therefore powerful element like an exhibition space or a structure (as a minimalization of the museum), is not only violated, but sometimes even radically altered – what is it that finally appears? A work of art that has broken free and made its own perfect environment? A work of art that is no longer naked but clothed inside the elements it has always longed for? Or a work of art that has become inseparable from its surroundings – that has become one with its surroundings, losing its original meanings by gaining new ones? Modern art is exactly modern because it is always born at the moment someone or something says: ‘From this point on: your attention please – art!’ For now, on Tuesday evening, these points lie scattered in the exhibition space, like confetti after a party. (cvg)

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