260508: Barbican Art Gallery: Hans Schabus – Next Time I’m Here, I’ll Be There

Barbican Art Gallery: Hans Schabus – Next Time I’m Here, I’ll Be There Space Odyssey Digging was out of the question and so was flooding. And sand – no, one couldn’t repeat that again; sand was just used recently, in Santa Fe. Hans Schabus was in a tight spot. But then Schabus struck on an idea how he could distinctively change the space of this utopian London landmark, the Barbican, without going to the extremes, to which he usually goes. All he had to do was tilt the gallery. He was inspired by the fact that the length of “The Curve”, as the Barbican Art Gallery is called, mirrors that of a Boeing 747, and installed 461 chairs, sourced exclusively from the Barbican Centre. Entering “The Curve” immediately reminds of Stanley Kubrick’s “Odyssey 2001” and the huge rotating Ferris wheel, which completely discombobulates spatial perception and seems to turn the world upside down. This association is reinforced by the fact that the Barbican, this huge cultural centre regularly chosen as London’s ugliest building, resembles a spacecraft, which landed in the middle of London. Similar to Kubrick’s “Discovery” Schabus’ installation makes us believe we are part of an adventurous journey. The chairs, which have been ordered strictly according to their colour and form and were taken from all different parts of the Barbican (cafés, offices, event locations), inspire an imaginary tour of the entire building. This constellation mirrors the atmosphere in an airplane, where an occupant is practically immobilized and controlled by strangers. To complement this installation, Schabus lets microphones take up the sounds made within the entire building and streams them into the gallery through a series of speakers. This additional effect not only underlines the metaphor of the airplane sound, but also transports tone into a space, which – upon reflecting the original function of this room – would normally never be here. Simply complex – but successful. Barbican Art Gallery EC2Y 8DS London, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, until 01. 06. 2008 www.barbican.org.uk

Barbican Art Gallery
EC2Y 8DS London, Barbican Centre, Silk Street
Tel: +44-020 7638 8891
Email: art@barbican.org.uk

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