in Curating, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Esther Spycher Huber
X m3 Gallery Spaces
1 July–1 August 2008
Bolte Lang, Häusler Contemporary, Karma International, Galerie Römerapotheke
Christian Brüll (biochemist), Lena Huber (artist), Eliane Iten (actress), Melanie Kollbrunner (student)
The empty gallery as the point of departure for an investigation of space and its conditions.
Four persons, who expose themselves to the spaces and observe what effect the latter have on them for one day each. Or: how they feel in these spaces, what they ask themselves in these spaces, how they act in them and why.
Here the architectural space is not to be examined as a mathematical abstraction but as a point of reference for human existence. A subjective experience of space, in other words, in contrast to an objective conception of space, while at the same time questioning the self-evidence of the space perceived.
In the summer of 2008, Christian, Eliane, Lena and Melanie investigated the empty spaces of the BolteLang, Häusler Contemporary, Karma International and Römerapotheke galleries. Each of them subjected themselves to each of the four spaces for one day. They were alone in these spaces, with nobody watching them, the only restrictions were the conditions laid down by the galleries for using the respective space. The only gallery which was not completely empty and in which the gallery owner was present was the Galerie Römerapotheke: those were the conditions for using that space.
The results of the investigations will be presented to the interested public within the framework of a publication: the four participants’ suspenseful, intimate, amusing and interesting experiences in their encounters with the spaces. All of them capture only certain facets of the space’s impact, mirroring a subjective world in the process, but culminating nevertheless in a suspenseful whole with regard to the four rooms and their effect on the viewer. Here the gallery space, otherwise assuming more the character of a framework for the art exhibited within it, itself becomes the theme and basis of the investigation.
The form taken by the expedition was deliberately left undefined: no specific questions were to be answered; rather, each of the participants was to have the option of reacting to the space with his/her personal biography. The white walls were to be given the opportunity to reveal “noises” or “texts”. As seen in the example of the exhibition SILENCE by Michael Fehr in 1988 at Karl Ernst Osthaus in Hagen, an empty space can release various sounds, depending on the context. In the case of the empty museum it was the history of the building.
Here the gallery space is the object being viewed. It is empty. But a completely empty space is a utopia, “a freedom of anyone’s intentions”, as John Cage once summed it up so accurately. For no living creature can survive in a completely empty space. The creature makes the space liveable and furnishes it in one way or another – if only with memories.
BolteLang, Zurich, www.boltelang.com
Häusler Contemporary, Zurich, www.haeusler-contemporary.com
Karma International, Zurich, www.karmainternational.org
Galerie Römerapotheke, Zurich, www.roemerapotheke.ch
Book presentation on 25 October 2008
Sincere thanks to all participants and gallery owners as well as to Valérie Wirz for the publication’s visual realization.
Contact: Esther Spycher Huber, email@example.com