Die Stadt ist der Star / The City is the Star

Kunst an der Baustelle / Art at the Construction Site

View of the Karlsruhe market place: A house is dangling from a crane. It has roots.
Type of publication
Exhibition brochure
Publishing house, place
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe
To celebrate the 300th anniversary of the City of Karlsruhe a number of international artists were invited to get involved in the dynamic process of the city's extensive transport building projects. Rather than "Kunst am Bau" (art in architecture), this is "Baustellenkunst" (construction-site art). In construction-site art, it is not always immediately clear what are the artistic interventions and what is an element in the construction process. Here, modern art's innovation of emphasizing the aesthetic appeal of "poor" materials (Arte Povera) and everyday situations (as treated in Arthur C. Danto's »The Transfiguration of the Commonplace«, 1984) is extended to the construction site, thus altering our perception of the latter. The materials and machines of construction work, such as cranes, are repeated in the artworks, often inducing a moment of uncertainty: Is this an artistic innovation or part of the construction process? Is it art or is it a construction disaster?
This mixture of big, attention-grabbing installations and low-key performances on topics such as migration, social dislocation, surveillance, impoverishment, xenophobia, and the idea of a homeland is intended to re-contextualize public art. Unusual objects, the beauty of the damaged, and absurd performances are designed to change the urban perception. Public art today is more than a sculpture or a statue; it is a collective act in a real public space, parallel in the virtual public space of social media. Public art today means performance.
The fascinating works of art in Karlsruhe's city center will confuse, impress, astonish, and enthrall residents and visitors. All of the artistic interventions in this exhibition are a gift to the city at the center of it all. Along with its residents and visitors, the city itself is the star!
German and English
51 p., illl, brochure
Organization / Institution
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe