I went back home to Germany over the break and visited the Kunstmuseum in Stuttgart. I was really intrigued by Tobias Rehberger’s installation that actually spans across the entire glass panels on the outside of the museum’s building. The installation is a combination of two of his previous works called “Free Coffee Free Parking Freedom”; which he created for the Rockbund Art Museum in 2018, and “Paysage vu à travers un point d’observation”; which he created in 2016 for Paris. Combined, they create “Facade” which is currently displayed in Stuttgart, Germany.
In front of the museum, in the middle of a pedestrian street on Königstraße, there’s a column attached to the ground that lets passersby connect their mobile phones via bluetooth. The installation gets activated when you press a button in the column that turns the bluetooth on and you can easily connect to “Play Freedom”. Once you’re connected via bluetooth you can play your own music, downloaded songs or even ones through Spotify or Youtube. The column doubles up as a speaker so your music can be heard by everyone outside the museum.
This is where the installation begins. The installation itself is made up of neon lights that are spread across the entire wall of the museum. The lights then light up by reacting to the rhythm and frequency of the song that is currently playing. So although Tobias Rehberger curated the lights, he has no control over the order in which they light up, and instead hands this control to the potential audience that happens to stop by and interact with his work. In an interview with the Kunstmuseum itself, Rehberger was asked what art in- and with the public space means to him, beyond the museum. He responded saying he’s particularly interested in art within a public space because he likes the idea of making artwork not only for people naturally interested in art, but also for people who aren’t. This way he is able to confront people with art unexpectedly, who might actually be able to take more away from the art than people who are prepared for it.
He goes on to discuss that a basis of his work is exploring the idea of what an artist exactly is: where does the work of an artist start, where does it end, and where do their influences come from? With his installation ‘Facade’, people are able to influence his work, add to it, and in some ways even change it. His work focuses on incorporating the viewer and creating interactive artwork that is integrated into the process of an artist’s work. This is what particularly interested me in Tobias Rehberger’s work; the way he uses the audiences engagement as an influence and basis of his pieces. Just like Rehberger, I’m targeting only occasional book buyers meaning I need to think of a way to entice them into reading books. Rehberger managed to successfully bring art to people who wouldn’t necessarily come across it themselves by situating his work in an open public space but also making his work interactive, engaging and personal to the audience.
Personal visit and recording by myself
Song I played: "The Hop" by A Tribe Called Quest
I really enjoyed visiting and taking part in the interactiveness of this installation. The only downside was that we visited during the day and the weather was very miserable and rainy. Ideally we should have waited for it to be darker to allow the neon lights to shine through better but unfortunately we couldn't stay in Stuttgart for that long. Nevertheless, the idea of the project is extremely impressive and stuck with me. Below I've attached a picture from the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart that they took during the trial of setting up the installation.
Picture from Kunstmuseum Stuttgart