Pelin Tan interviews Nikolaus Hirsch

extract from the article: “12th International Istanbul Biennial”, published on on 5 Oct. 2011 by Pelin Tan.

to read the article click here


Pelin Tan: As an architect, what is your view on designing a space for an artwork or collaborating with curators? What do you think are the possibilities of the relation between spatial design and presentation of artworks? 

Nikolaus Hirsch: From my own practice as an architect and curator at the Portikus I can say: there is no recipe. First of all it is crucial to understand that you do not need an architect for the exhibition of artworks. As Jan Verwoert and I called it on the occasion of his curatorial project in Sheffield: one option is about “debriefing the architect”.
Depending on the artistic approach and curatorial concept of an exhibition it can make sense to think about a specific display. This can happen in the way Jens Hoffmann and Adriano Pedrosa worked with Ryue Nishizawa: a clean distribution of labor between curator, artists and architect. Despite its strong visibility the architecture of display remains in the domain of service. Yet, display is not only a question for the architectural discipline but one that more and more artists see as an integral part of their work. This was obvious in the last Venice Biennial when artists Song Dong, Monika Sosnowska, Oscar Tuazon, and Franz West created architectural structures in which the work of other artists could be shown. In this case display is not a mere background but an artistic intervention in its own right. You can even go further: For the European Kunsthalle, we developed a strategy of “Institution Building” (so the title of the book I co-authored with Markus Miessen, Philipp Misselwitz and Matthias Görlich), with artists designing an exquisite-corpse-like museum, trying to merge the concepts of “exhibition” and “museum”, ultimately dissolving the difference between served and serving, between container, background, and art object.




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