in context of room, building and city

>1 Colli

Sculpture 2006, Berlinische Galerie, Museum for Moderne Art, Photografy und Architecture; core boards, mirrors, latex paint, video, ca. 220 x 500 x 250 cm, Assistent Anamarie Michnevich; Fotos and constructive plans: Rafal Wamka; Video: Camera Fritz Balthaus, Cut Walter Lenertz; Curator Guido Fassbender

Fritz Balthaus: 1 Colli

>the museum as sculptor


The starting point for 1 Colli (Colli = cargo item) is given by the hypothetical question: Upon entering a museum, which influences might an artwork undergo and which form might it take on, if, while fulfilling technical requirements of transport, storage, etc, its only aspiration is to be the largest possible self-contained ’piece’? With the utmost accuracy Balthaus pursues his course of inquiry: The first fundamental restriction found at the museum’s entrance is the freight elevator, whose dimensions in length, width and height dictate the largest transportable object and thus the initial size of the work. The subsequent forming of the sculpture, instead of showing the artist’s handwriting, is strictly determined by all obstacles and restrictions encountered in the building during the journey to the work’s destinations in the storage vaults and the exhibition room. In this way door frames, ventilation shafts, walls, corners, and the equipment used for its transport carve their traces on the piece as if in accordance with the classical principles of reductive sculpture. The exhibited work is

like a sum of circumstantial evidence about the exhibiting institution. A video documenting the sculpture’s delivery from the workshop and its passage within the museum are part of the exhibit. Here again, in a subversive way, Balthaus sheds light on art’s handling in an otherwise hidden realm – the museum as the sculptor’s studio.


Guido Fassbender