Archive for October, 2008

House of Imagination at Torstrasse 166, Berlin

October 26, 2008

Berlin, September /October, 2008

House of Imagination at Torstrasse 166, a review by Ron Rocco

Photos by © Max Merz unless otherwise noted.

 

 

September 27 through October, 12, 2008

 

One of Berlin’s truly exceptional assets is the availability of unutilized architecture. Empty buildings, some which contain extraordinary industrial spaces, can be found all over the city. It is this fact that plays a large role in the scope and scale of the exhibitions which can be realized here. One such building is Torstrasse 166 a site which presently accommodates an exhibition which reflect, on the subject of architecture and the meaning of personal spaces.

Das Haus der Vorstellung /House of Imagination-Concepts at Torstrasse 166 on exhibit from Sept. 27 through October 12, is a grass roots presentation staged by curators Ralf Schmerberg, Jaana Prüss and Peter Weber under the name of .triggerhappyproductions, http://www.triggerhappyproductions.com, and funded by the building materials supplier Hornbach. It showcases a collection of artists working in Berlin whose work re-defines or re-conceptualizes interior and exterior spaces.  The exhibition opens to the street, with a cascade of shoes, which spring from the top of the building from red threads to be fixed to the exterior wall at some point below, the work of Chiharu Shiota. 

 

Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota

The overall effect is a waterfall of color, which distorts the cityscape, presenting a vertical walking surface high above the viewer.

The transformations do not stop with Shiota’s exterior. Inside the building Shiota weaves a dense web of black yarn into one of the apartments.  The viewer has access to this space through ‘tunnels’ which penetrate the all encompassing web.  Inside the rooms assorted furnishing, a desk with scattered papers and books, table and chairs, are seen enmeshed within the artists weaving. In one room a white silken wedding gown stands suspended in the black strands. Is this a reflection on the ‘golden moments’ once shared by this apartments inhabitants? Is it a commentary on purity, or the fleeting nature of memory? The artist leaves us to reflect on these possibilities.

Another re-conceptualized interior, an installation by Raumlaborberlin an artist group with core members Markus Bader, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, Andrea Hofmann, Jan Liesegang, and Matthias Rick, entitled Im Labyrinth der Musterwohnungen, /The labyrinth of the archetypical apartment, is composed

 

Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota

 

 

Chiharu Shiota Unter die Haut und nicht mehr aus dem Kopf /Under the skin and not any more from the head

 of passageways that  are narrowed, with doors and walls that are projected from familiar configurations to re-define a space like an obstacle course. Walls must be climbed over and passageways shimmied through.  Although architectural drawings adorn some of the wall surfaces, the significance of this work is the redefinition of room function, is a doorway meant as a passageway or simply a visual portal or aperture? Can a wall be climbed over, as opposed to walked around?

Mosermeyer

Mosermeyer

 

 

At another apartment, the artist Mosermeyer presents, Relaxen mit Ruhestorung /Relax in disturbance.  This is a totally darkened space, which must be navigated by touch. The visitor moves along a black fabric wall, which guides one past hidden furnishings, a couch, an unseen cupboard to be eventually surrounded by darkness and sound.  The crescendo of noise which fills the room breaks only to leave one feeling helpless in the sudden emptiness.  The artist thus underlines our dependence on sight and electricity, speaking to our inherent fears and the sometimes threatening world of the blind.

Künstlergruppe Plastique Fantastique, Marco Canevacci, Markus Wüste

Künstlergruppe Plastique Fantastique, Marco Canevacci, Markus Wüste

 

 

 

The transformation of physical space itself reaches a crescendo in the work of Künstlergruppe Plastique Fantastique, Marco Canevacci, Markus Wüste.  An exterior courtyard between two wings of the building is filled with a huge pneumatic sculpture.  From its lowest surface one sees only a distorted image of the sky and the surrounding walls.  Every window of the building along the courtyard open onto the inflatable’s plastic surface, producing a feeling of suffocation.  The structure deadens all sound except that which the artists pump into the court yard below, increasing the sense of insulation. 

 

 

Künstlergruppe Plastique Fantastique, Marco Canevacci, Markus Wüste

Künstlergruppe Plastique Fantastique, Marco Canevacci, Markus Wüste

 

 

 

A second installation by this group fills an adjacent room inside the building.  This white opaque inflatable protrudes from floor and ceiling creating a womb-like surface into which the visitor can crawl, conscious that if one were to slide down to the side walls it might be hard to extricate oneself.  The multi nuanced installation mimics organic forms, challenge the viewer with their scale and explore the place between fun and fear.

 

Other artists featured at at Torstrasse 166 include: Souzie Haas, Sissel Toolas, Manfred Reuter, Laura Kikauka, Franz Hoefner, Harry Sachs, Christine Rebet, Harald Smykla, and (e.) Twin Gabriel.

 

Künstlergruppe Plastique Fantastique, Marco Canevacci, Markus Wüste

Künstlergruppe Plastique Fantastique, Marco Canevacci, Markus Wüste

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Ron Rocco, views: Berlin /New York

October 5, 2008