Works from the Emanuel Hoffmann-Foundation
and the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel
2012–February 10, 2013
Museum für Gegenwartskunst,
mit Emanuel Hoffmann-Stiftung
T 0041 (0) 61 206 62 62
F 0041 (0) 61 206 62
In 1994–95, Robert Gober conceived the installation Split Wall with Drains,
specifically for the ground
floor hall at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst (MGK).
solo exhibition at the museum, curated by Theodora Vischer, the work was
purchased for the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel in 1995. Due to the
installation's complexity, however, there has not been an opportunity to present it to the public in quite
some time. Working closely again with Robert Gober and his studio, we were now able to fulfill a
long-time wish and reconstruct the spectacular installation at its original site.
Split Wall with
Drains stands at the center
of this show, which focuses on the extensive holdings of Robert Gober's
works in the Emanuel Hoffmann-Foundation's collection; it also features
works from the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel and a private
collection. After the major survey exhibition held at Schaulager in 2007,
the new show presents objects, installations, drawings, and replicas of
objects from the domestic sphere such as washbasins, fireplaces, and
drains, as well as fragmentary body parts bearing psychological, political,
and religious connotations. As in the first exhibition of Gober's work in
Basel in 1995–96, the primary site of this eminent oeuvre is the
ground-floor hall, which is bisected by a diagonal wall. Two identical
doorways serve as entrances and exits at once, yet the partition is hardly
more than a two-dimensional façade: Contrary to appearances, it does
not enclose a room, but merely creates opportunities for passage. The sound
of rushing water emerges from drains embedded in the floor on both sides of
the wall. They are bronze casts coated with a dark patina and resemble
ordinary New York City street-gutter drainage grates.
The motif of the drain to which
Gober returns here has also appeared in earlier works: Starting in 1989,
Gober designed a number of simple but individual plugholes, had them cast
in pewter, and then installed them directly in the walls of exhibition
spaces (Drains). The
drain marks the boundary between light and darkness, between what is
visible and what is concealed, between inside and outside.
Not only with its
overwhelmingly visual quality, Split Wall with Drains represents a highlight of Gober's sculptural oeuvre; it
is also singular in that it was conceived for the unique situation at the
MGK, which is itself traversed by a brook, and will thus remain permanently
rooted in our house.
Support for the exhibition comes from the "Fonds für
künstlerische Aktivitäten im Museum für Gegenwartskunst der
Emanuel Hoffmann-Stiftung und der Christoph Merian Stiftung."
For the duration of the
exhibition, Robert Gober's permanent installation at
Schaulager, Untitled, 1995-1997, is open to the public by telephone reservation. Additionally,
the installation will be discussed publicly one Sunday each month at 1pm.
Please contact the Schaulager's art education department at firstname.lastname@example.org, T 061 335 32 26.
Press Office: Christian Selz, T 0041 (0) 61 206 62 06 / email@example.com