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Art / photography

Interview with Gregor Schneider

グレゴール・シュナイダー インタビュー

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Interview: Haruo Kobayashi

Text: Akiko Inoue

Photo: Masamasa Nishino

The Yokohama Museum of Art is bustling with the Yokohama Triennale 2014. A new different space is now appearing in the parking lot space. This is the first work "German Anxto" made by the German artist Gregor Schneider, who is known for creating "rooms", when he first visited the land of Yokohama.

His work, which began to make works at the age of 12, held his first solo exhibition at the age of 16, and won the Golden Lion Award, the highest award at the 49th Venice Biennale, often includes "death" and "darkness". There is a black image of "shadow". And it is noteworthy that his unique technique of creating the space itself and his peculiar commitment to invisible things characterize his work.

This time at MAGCUL.NET, we interviewed him who was visiting Japan for Yokotori 2014, and it is said that it is the first work and will continue to be made over a lifetime "House ur 1985-today" (House Ua). 1985-today) (* 1) , large-scale projects announced all over the world, and the production of works in Yokohama, I was blessed with a valuable opportunity to come into contact with the ideas and inspiration that underlie the work. The listener is Mr. Haruo Kobayashi, the representative of blanClass and the artist.

-This is the first time you have actually seen your work, but you can see it on the website and in magazines.Was there. I would like to ask you various questions, including the impression of the works exhibited at Yokotori 2014.

Born and raised in a coal mine town …

-First of all, I and Mr. Gregor are of the same generation. Of course, the culture I grew up in is different, but I have some sympathy for your approach to "rooms." Imagine that the times you lived influenced your perception of your room.

Gregor Schneider (G) : I was born and raised in the coal mine town of Wright in Germany, of course. Wright was a town with many unemployed people and lots of vacant houses, so in a sense, the whole town was an atelier and a place for making works. And from such a town with an environment and atmosphere a little like Detroit, the first work "House ur 1985-today" was born.

Many people visited Wright every year for mining and dug up the town with a huge machine. As a result, the town has been changing rapidly. It can be said that 90% of the town of Wright was destroyed after the war. In other words, it was more destroyed by mining than any other war in the past.

My family has been running a lead factory for five generations, but over the years there have been some buildings that have gone out of use. The situation that I couldn't demolish it triggered me to start building "House ur". I think it's the same for everyone that their environment triggers something to start.

-For example, in a city or town, I think there is a house that separates something, but Mr. Gregor is supposed to create a space that is further nested as a room from that house, isn't it? .. First of all, please tell us about the approach to such a room.

G : The most important way for me to create a work is to duplicate an originally existing room in or next to it. Create another room in the space, bedroom, kitchen, small room, etc. in the house. I continue to do this kind of work to this day.

Gregor Schneider

Let's take a look at some of the rooms in "House ur".

About "House ur"

House ur
ur1

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u30 staircase
u25 big white door

G : These are not architectural spaces, but spaces as works created in a room that actually exists. The most artistic thing for me is to create a complete room inside the room. Rather than simply dividing the room, it duplicates the entire room, including walls, floors, and ceilings. It's like an onion, when you peel it, there's another skin underneath. And the viewer does not need to be aware of this.

-Do you mean that only the room is conceptually independent as a room?

G : It depends on the work, but the room I make can actually be used and functions as a place of living. I'm duplicating both its form and function. "House ur" has a water supply, and there is a room where you can sleep, so you can actually live.

There is a room called "Coffee Drinking Room" (ur10) in "House ur", but in this room, while sitting inside and drinking coffee, the room rotates once. OriginallyThere is a mechanism to return. However, it spins so slowly that visitors do not notice that the room was spinning until then when they left the room.

ur10 Coffee drinking room

… Similarly, some rooms have a mechanism that allows the ceiling to move up and down very slowly. (It goes up 5 cm over 45 minutes and goes down 5 cm over the next 45 minutes)

The most important concept in me is a room that actually existed by creating an onion-shaped room, such as another room in a room and another room in that room. Is to make it invisible. When this happens, the people there no longer think about the room.

-Does that onion-like sensation occur in the viewer's head?

G : I can't say it unconditionally because I think people feel differently, but since "house ur" looks like a normal house from the outside, at one point, an insurance salesman asked me. There was also. Also, a person who didn't know anything came and ate coffee and cake with me and left without noticing anything. But in reality, they were spending time in the room surrounded by the work.

And the same can be said for myself. I lived a normal life in the isolated room of House ur, but remodeled and changed it, so even myself no longer know the prototype of the room. is. For example, suppose you want to embed black stones, red stones, and blue stones in some wall.After a day, when I wondered "where did I bury it …", the situation became more and more confusing in the situation where the same wall was in front of one wall.

ur12 Completely independent guest room

What you can see / what you cannot see What you can / cannot recognize

Gregor Schneider

G : For example, there is a ladder on the back of this room. But it is invisible. I make it outside the room, but I can't see it.

core

-Even if the room is not recognized as a work, I think that you may be "setting up" for the viewer. What is it?

G : Yes, the problem here is visible / invisible, recognizable / unrecognizable. A room created inside a room is "visible" but not "recognized". In other words, although it "sees" as a normal room, it is not "recognized" that it was created as a work. There is a difference here. As you can see, my work is intricately intricate. And the situations of the visitors are different, and the ideas about each room are also different. The only thing I can say is that visitors will walk around and ask themselves, "Is this a work of art anymore?" And finally, the question of what "art" is is gone. After all, the boundary between life and art disappears.

-How do you perceive the "room" as a work?

G : For example, when I appreciate a painting, I stand in front of the work. When I see the sculpture, I walk around it. But in the case of a "room," you're surrounded by your work, and there's always something behind it, which you can't see. There is such a difference. Also, if you create a room inside a room, a shadow will be created between the wall of the original room and the wall of the newly created room. And the narrower the gap, the darker the shadow area. I've been doing this, that is, creating double walls and double rooms, ever since I started building House ur in 1985.

Then, at the 2001 Venice Biennale (* 2) , a part of the "house ur" made in this birthplace Wright was dismantled and taken out to another city called Venice and reconstructed.

-I understand the mechanism of your work, which is visible / invisible, recognizable / unrecognizable, and how the work should be. Then, in the meaning put in each workIs there a difference?

G : My first work, "House ur," started with the personal act of living in a room, but since the Venice Biennale, I feel that it has also taken on social and political aspects.

About "death"

-How do you perceive "death"?

G : I see death as a natural science problem.

There is a work called "The Room of Death", but its title has the meaning of "hidden place" in the architectural expression. Tot is the German word for "death," but "Toter Raum" here means "a place you can't enter," "no exit," or "dead end."

Room of Death Tokyo 2010

With this work, I created a "death room" in the same way that I created a bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom. And the room of death is not a special place for me, it is one of the most common rooms like a bedroom or a kitchen.

So what I mean is that for me there is nothing that separates life from works of art. You can live in the room, that is, you can live and you can die. And dying is also part of living. For me, dying is a sculptural act. And thatThis is also an inevitable task for each of us.

-Does your work mean your own world?

G : It's not the world. My work is an architectural work, which is a concrete three-dimensional solid. And for me, a work of art cannot exist without being built. In other words, it cannot be called a work unless it is concretely constructed and created, not the concept of "the world."

Building is getting closer to the unknown

There is a work called "White Torture".

Corridor NO.1
Strict security and cell No.3

This work is a reproduction of Camp # 5 of Guantanamo Camp (* 3) , which was isolated from the public eye due to strict security, based on the materials on the Internet. If you make a room that you can't explain or step into, you can make it into a work.I am.

By doing this, you can see how it was made. And when you make it a second time, you will understand the reason for what you did first.

You can see the torture room in Guantanamo camp online, but you can't go there. So, as a sculptor, the only way I can get close to the place is to build it based on the information given to me.

-Is building for you the same as thinking?

G : For me, building is one of the means to perfect myself, the process of trying to understand things. There is a work called "Cube" inspired by the building of the Kaaba (* 5) made using Kuroishi (* 4) . By making this work, I was able to realize the physical experience of standing in front of Kuroishi, which is not allowed for me as a non-Islamic person. This is my way of getting closer to something completely unknown or incomprehensible. In the case of this work, by imitating a building, you can face the object.

CUBE HAMBURG 2007

-Why do you make an installation of some kind of hidden place like that? Or why do you deliberately hide the situation and display something that you can't see? It is impossible for a person to see everything anywayIs that from?

G : There are differences in each work, so I can't say it unconditionally, but for me, that work is there, that's all.

About Yokohama Triennale 2014 Exhibited Works

-Your work installed in the parking lot space at Yokotori 2014 felt more "closed".

G : For me, this work is new and different from the previous ones.

-I think that one of the keywords presented by Yasumasa Morimura, the artistic director of Yokotori 2014, is the word "forgetting". What do you think this keyword has to do with it?

G : I don't know if this work has anything to do with "forgetting". Because this work is new to me. Also, as always, the work always swallows the work itself, and starting something is an intuitive process, so I often don't understand it myself. In other words, I'm doing something I don't know. It is interesting for me to come here in Yokohama and make abstract things again.

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In the past, I have created a space in the museum that is different from the usual doorway and can be accessed 24 hours a day. In the first place, an art museum is a public facility created for displaying paintings and photographs, so it is very difficult to create such a space, but the friction caused by realizing it is also interesting to me. is.

Regarding this work, as part of the white exhibition space of the public facility called the museum, there is a dark and muddy space below, and it is an interesting experience for the viewer to be able to walk in it. I think it will be. (*)

Gregor Schneider

[Note]

* 1 "House ur" built the first room (ur1) in a building owned by his parents in 1985, and he himself actually lived in the house and remodeled it.

* 2 He won the Golden Lion Award, the highest award at the Venice Biennale, for this work.

* 3 Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. A US Navy base located in Guantanamo Bay in southeastern Cuba. Since January 2002 under the Bush administration, the first group of "suspected terrorists" has been detained and is also used as a camp for detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq. Known for its cruel torture, it is also a human rights issue.

* 4 A sanctuary considered to be the highest sanctuary in Islam

* 5 A keystone installed in the eastern corner of the Kaaba. Ancient sacred stone architecture where Muslims of the world pray in that direction

* As of October 1, the experience of walking in the same work is not done due to facility management.

Translation: Takae Ichimura

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