Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur
Museum d’art dal Grischun Cuira
Museo d’arte dei Grigioni Coira

2013

​uninhabitable objects
behausungen zwischen 
Imagination und Realität
01.06. – 25.08.2013

With “Uninhabitable Objects” a topic is being analysed at the Bündner Kunstmuseum, which is of general social relevance. The dwelling – no matter how rudimentary – is of existential significance for human beings. This exhibition is about the subjective-imaginative debate on space and living concepts: “When is something inhabitable?” “Who lives there?” or “Could I live there?”

The selected works in one way or another all point to reality. In fact, they are images or models of dwellings, which are or were actually built. However, for the viewer they are de facto neither accessible nor inhabitable and therefore challenge their imagination. Precisely because dwellings are a central and everyday part of our lives, the ambiguities of artistic renderings provoke irritation as well as fascination. Rachel Whiteread, for example, had a Victorian house completely cast in concrete and had the shell removed, so that the former living space faces us as a mute memorial to absence. In contrast, the artists’ duo Gabriela Gerber and Lukas Bardill bring to life the military fake village Answeisen, by creating the illusion with clay and light that the house claddings are lived in. Bianca Brunner in her photo series Uninhabitable Objects constructs provisional shelters and takes photographs of them in a way, which leaves them strangely vague in their function as well as in their scale. Benjamin Appel builds a space-filling, life-size but hermetically sealed object with old furniture, which seems simultaneously familiar and forbidding. Not Vital, in turn, had many of his “inhabitable sculptures” actually made in Niger, in the Engadin or in Patagonia. Nevertheless, for political, climatic or geographic reasons occupancy even in these cases usually only happens in the imagination.

In this exhibition the main issue is not the house as status symbol but its basic meaning for humans. “The meaning of the hut” lies in its having a physical protective function as well as offering the possibility of “dreaming in peace” (Gaston Bachelard). Children early on build houses with simple means and materials in order to hide from the world and to have a place for themselves alone. Especially in our time and in our affluent society, in which most have a fixed abode in a solid house, the hut becomes important again as a place for contemplation and retreat. The desire to build, which has its roots in childhood, is taken up as well in artistic concepts, which all deal with the mental entering and experiencing of space.

Benjamin Appel, Bianca Brunner, Gabriela Gerber/Lukas Bardill, Catrin Lüthi K, Christof Rösch, Thomas Schütte, Gaudenz Signorell, Not Vital and Rachel Whiteread show objects, installations, photographs and videos.

This primordial dream of independence and feeling of security, embodied in the makeshift simplicity of the hut, is the basis for a special event for children. Curator Katharina Ammann in close collaboration with art mediator Alexa Giger develop a children’s building site in the garden of the historic Villa Planta. In the summer under professional supervision and with artists and craftsmen a children’s villa will be built, in which space and living fantasies can be tested in a playful way.

Instead of a classic exhibition catalogue there will be a publication, in which the guideline will be the concept of intervention. Beside information on the artists it will also include suggestions and instructions on practical implementations in the area of building, dwelling and living.

Opening: Friday, May 31, at 6 pm
Welcome address: Barbara Gabrielli, Head of Department for Culture
Introduction: Dr Katharina Ammann, Curator Bündner Kunstmuseum 

Publication
Uninhabitable Objects – Behausungen zwischen Imagination und Realität, edited by Katharina Ammann and Alexa Giger, texts by Katharina Ammann, Alexa Giger, Anna Joss, Christina Luzzi, Nicole Seeberger, Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur

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