Site-specific, Group Exhibition

Kunstprojekte_riem, München (Germany)

May 2000

Curated by Claudia Büttner

Website of the Exhibition

kunstprojekte_riem was an experiment being undertaken by the City of Munich to promote the creation of works of art at public sites in Messestadt Riem, a new suburb containing the city's trade fair centre. The project was accompanying the genesis of the suburb with works of art, created in consultation with local residents in an attempt to give the district a distinctive image, it then commissioned artists to produce work specially for Messestadt. In their location, whether temporary or permanent, in the green areas, open spaces and streets of the suburb, and in the media they use, the works formed an integral part of residents' daily life. After four years, the City of Munich is terminated ‘kunstprojekte_riem and the project’s office was closed.

Verwandlung: A light installation on the former airport control tower

Verwandlung from Chema Alvargonzalez; Looking for remains of the airport that once occupied the Messestadt site, Chema Alvargonzalez soon found an object that gave expression to his notion of airports as intermediaries between sky and earth - the former control tower. The tower had been deprived of its original purpose and was now isolated. Using neon tubes, the artist transformed the structure into a 'Stadtmarke' (city marker) that appeared to emit flashes of lightning. His concern was to produce a work symbolic of the links between earth and sky, body and spirit.

Like most visitors to Messestadt, Alvargonzalez first looked for remains of the old airport and, in the former control tower, soon found an object that accorded with his notion of airports as intermediaries between sky and earth. In viewing the tower as a symbol of this connection, he also recognised that the building had long since lost this function. Now isolated, the tower had been deprived of its original purpose along with the airport. The informed visitor is thus likely to pay more attention to the architecture itself, its almost neo-classical style characteristic of the Third Reich architect Ernst Sagebiehl. This was not what concerned Alvargonzalez: underlining features of the existing building would automatically have raised the question of its quality as architecture and of its value as a monument worthy of protection. Neither did the artist wish to emphasise the traces of the tower's former function. Rather, he was interested in the general issue of signs that might symbolise links between earth and sky, body and spirit. In order to represent both a desire for these links and the dissolution of form (i.e. form that has become functionless) Alvargonzalez chose lightning. The brilliant energy of lightning ( the most powerful of all movements from the sky towards the earth) would just be strong enough to serve as an indication of the power of Verwandlung (transformation).

Artists: Chema Alvargonzalez, Olaf Metzel, Sissel Tolaas.

Installation by Artist Chema Alvargonzalez in Munchen, 2000.