Thursday, August 29, 2013

Little escap(ad)e: Art Immersion, part 2

My next station on my trip of art immersion was the International Centre for Light Artin Unna. I had been wanting to go there since I first heard about it, and certainly since I did not make it there when I had my solo exhibition at the German Patchwork Guild’s AGM in – was it 2009 or 2010?
As a matter of fact, this leg of the journey was slightly less intensively immersed than I had originally planned for, but nevertheless very impressive and exciting indeed. Less intensively immersed because I had managed to not register the fact that this isn’t a museum where you can go in during what any slightly experienced museum visitor would consider ‘regular’ opening hours. I had dreamed of spending the whole day walking from one of the light installations to the other, and going back to the beginning once I had finished with the round. Instead, access is limited to three daily public tours, the first starting at 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
So when I arrived at the front door just before 10 a.m., all eager to go in, after getting up just after six and having left my hotel in Oberhausen at half past seven to get to Unna ‘on time’ I was a bit on the disappointed side. Luckily, there were lockers in the building, and after I had bought my ticket (which was possible at 10.30) I left my luggage and set off to see Unna. Small town in Westphalia, and, in the shop assistant’s words, there isn’t really anthing to see except for the former brewery that now houses the light museum, the public library and the city’s community college.
It has some very nice old streets with half-timbered houses and "Butzenscheiben", though, and a protestant church in gothic style, in which I saw one of the Bosna Quilts hanging by itself, ‘in the wild’ so to say (meaning: not in the context of one of the many exhibitions that I have seen already), for the first time.

"Butzenscheiben" make for nice warped reflections -
but I have always wondered how the world looks when
you live inside one of these houses. Does everything
get warped when looking from the inside, too?

A Bosna Quilt in the church, unfortunately the bad lighting
made it impossible to get any of the impression that this work
could have given visitors.

And I did treat myself to a really nice plate of waffles and white tea, sitting outside in beautiful weather (and basking in the fact that I knew people at home were sitting in the rain…)

When I went back to the museum, time for the tour was finally approaching, and there were about 12 people on it. In the building, but outside the former brewery cellars which are the location for the museum itself I saw a (non-lighted) installation by Brigitte Kowanz. On the tour, we were explicitly not allowed to take any pictures. The tour was only a tour of the permanent collection as a new temporary exhibition will open on September 14 and was not yet accessible to the public. Currently, the permanent collection includes pieces by

While in the cellar, I think I was most impressed by Kubisch’s combination of light and sound in the brewers’s former fermentation tanks, and Eliasson’s installation of pulsating light and water. But as I was googling all these names in order to be able to supple the links I realized that perhaps it is obnoxious to talk of favorites in such an outstanding exhibition containing works of only top artists, and truth is that I liked all of them a lot.
As I did not spend the night I did not get to see Mario Merz’s “Fibonacci sequence” on the outside of the brewery’s former chimney:

Mario Merz, Fibonacci sequence,
Picture taken from here

The Centre is part of a Light Path that extends through quite a distance in the Ruhr Industrial Area, which, of course, I did not get to see this time either. It seems like I will have to go back and do a serious tour of art museums and sites in the Ruhr Industrail Area! Their having been European Cultural Region three years ago has definitely given the region quite a boost, and there is a lot out there to see!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the links - I recognise some names, but others are new to me. It's fascinating that light is used as a medium for sculpture.