Astonished


The visitor arriving at the Contemporary Art Centre is invited to partake in a process of wandering and exploration. Upon entering the gallery, he will, very probably, be astonished. Art works are not displayed on the wall, but on the floor; the cotton tarpaulins lying beneath him are covered with multiple layers of ornaments, perspective drawings, text fragments and traces of colour covering the other layers in a seemingly chaotic way. The visual signals are accompanied by distorted sound messages calling for attention, which somehow interact with the visitor’s route. What is more, strange objects are suspended from the ceiling and cut the viewer’s line of sight. At a closer look, they reveal themselves to be works of art of their own, tied up and nailed together, so that only their bare backs are visible to the baffled spectator. The result is a paradoxical situation. In a context of art display, the traditional work of art, the canvas on the wall, turns provocatively its back to the spectator. The art work, deprived of its proper function, looks strangeand unsettling. The visitor is bereft of the usual clues for art reception in a gallery space and must somehow come to terms with the unknown surrounding. Showing art works without revealing them is a provocative act which challenges the common habits of art consumption and forces the visitor to find new resources for understanding and experiencing his environs.

Marion Haemmerli