Design von Stephan Thiel
Srjdan Jovanovic Weiss
The Rise and Fall of the Balkan City
Architect Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss has been on a particular trail for years now. He is searching for any evidence of the development of democratic processes in Balkan countries. He asked friends and colleagues to donate photos taken on their travels in Balkan cities. His constantly growing collection contains snapshots of new, often incomplete and unorthodox architecture, which has evolved in the region, whether legally or illegally. Weiss developed a form catalog, removed the buildings from their context and stored them as black silhouettes in his database.
In the exhibition at Solitude, the architect presents a selection of these forms and interrelates these with silhouettes of his own Balkan-based architectural projects. These include “Hotel Normal“, a housebuilding project for elderly socialists and the “Center for Freedom and New Media“, which were developed for Serbian cities, and the “B-Asylum for pets“ project, which is scheduled to be built in a former US base in Bosnia. Weiss’ publication Almost Architecture, a collection of his essays and project descriptions, will be published by merz&solitude in time for the exhibition.
Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss (*1967) studied architecture at the University of Belgrade and at Harvard University’s School of Design. He currently lives in New York. Srjdan Weiss was an Akademie fellow during 2004/2005.
The House That Herman Built
The House That Herman Built is the artist’s attempt to give a prisoner virtual freedom. Herman Joshua Wallace spent the last 34 years of his life in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, one of the largest prisons in the USA. There, he inhabits a cell measuring 2 x 3 meters, and is only allowed out one hour a day to shower or take a walk. Originally imprisoned for armed robbery, Wallace received a new sentence in the 1970s during an FBI campaign whose aim was to neutralize political dissidents. He became famous as a member of the “Angola Three”, which also included Robert King and Albert Woodfox. In jail, the three founded a subgroup of the Black Panther Movement and lobbied for prisoners rights.
Sumell has conducted an active correspondence with Wallace since April 2001; she is one of only ten people to hold a special permit, and has visited Wallace twelve times in jail. They have been collaborating on the idea of designing and building a house for him for more than three years now. At the Solitude exhibition, the virtual model of the planned house (a 3-D animation with an audio tour by Robert King) will stand opposite the reverse-engineered prison cell. As a politically active artist, Sumell executes an art project whose subject is the act of resistance, the attempt to give a man who has suffered injustice for so long at least a modicum of hope and justice.
Jackie Sumell (*1973) studied art at the San Francisco Art Institute and at Stanford University (M. F. A.). Jackie Sumell has been an Akademie fellow since October 2005.
Empty spaces and passages or escapes seem imminent in Claudia Kugler’s works. The gaze glides along stimulating bluish opalescent surfaces, yearning to dive into the darkness between strangely inoperable, opposing wall sections created from indeterminable materials. At another point, it appears as if the cone of light from a lamp is reflected in a polished marble surface. An effect that remains unexplained.
Kugler creates her works completely digitally on the computer, subsequently presenting them as photo prints or in the form of short film sequences and film loops. The medial suggestion of the works’ authentic character is belied by its synthetic, simulated fabrication. Spaces that appear to be modernist architecture dissolve into indefinite surfaces, which seem to obey internal laws as far as materiality and composition is concerned. Perspectives blur, surface and space systems dissolve into compositions devoid of all norms.
Claudia Kugler (*1969 in Auerbach) works as an artist in Nuremberg and Stuttgart and has been an Akademie fellow since October 2005.
The exhibition is on view from Friday, June 9 to Sunday, July 23 2006.
Hours: Tues–Thurs 10 am-12 pm & 2 pm –5:30 pm, Fri 10 am–12 pm & 2 pm–4 pm, Sat–Sun 12 pm–5:30 pm