in context of room, building and city

>Fountain 4

vonhundert, #33, 09/2019, Berlin; photo and artist text, temporary intervention on own behalf, at Kunstmuseum Basel, Gegenwart, St. Alban-Graben 16; tap, open/closed, Brunnen4 

Fritz Balthaus: Fountain 4

>Dear Sren Grammel,


... Today I would like to present to you an artistic work that has already begun with this letter to you.


Recently I imagined an "installation" in the Kunstmuseum in Basel. In it, the water tap on the roof terrace of the museum is the main actor, which in this artistic work is open or closed - running or not running. On my last visit to the roof of the Kunstmuseum, I spontaneously opened it and made a short video1 of this downward, rather uncontrollably splashing fountain. Because of its quiet "calmness" I find it very beautiful. Basically I would not have to explain it further to them, but I can make sure for myself: At the moment when the running tap is interpreted as a work of art, art and building are no longer separated, because whenever art opens itself to context, building services are not far away and the concepts are the same. Water, electricity and money cycles cannot be separated from art cycles either. All call themselves equally "installations" and yet they are completely different media with different value systems. In the sense of building services, the running tap is a senseless waste of resources; in the sense of art, on the other hand, it enables the interpretation of a widely open work of art. The daily water bill becomes an art budget to be financed. Even the "interpretation" itself protrudes into the work of art in terms of its interpretation, and becomes a substantial component of the artistic work. In my opinion, the fountain on the terrace of the Kunstmuseum can even be understood as a "work of interpretation".


... as an artist, I have always considered it important to separate what has become superfluous over time from what is still necessary and to allow only the aesthetic essence of the latter. From this, I have developed a very reserved yet active working attitude, which I like to call "Lassenmachen". In order to help everything "not made" to an observable existence at all, it is necessary to give the serene an environment. An environment in which interpretation is already at home from home. Here, in the Kunstmuseum Basel, Gegenwart.


In retrospect, the spontaneous and succinct opening of the faucet has become increasingly important to me, probably also because I have left all the trivial expectations that are demanded of ordinary art definitions in one fell swoop. This "well", on the other hand, was created without any manufacturing or material operations in an artist's studio, without art transport and handling in a museum. So far even without your invitation as curator of the museum.


This could be understood as the production of facts in the quietly splashing space of free interpretation and because of the reinterpreting title "Fountain" - the purposeful building technology calls all natural stone framed fountains and epochal styles onto the plan and into the productive imagination of visitors. Technically it remains the old tap from everyday life. Under your curatorial wing, it would have a breathtaking appearance in the resonant space of contextual reflections.


What do you mean? I think it would be a successful coup by a curator and artist to avoid the indispensable ennoblement of an artistic work by the abundantly disenchanted art trade - with its raging consulters - and to call out like the hedgehog to the hare in Grimm's fairy tale:


"Ick bn all dor"! I am already there!


with cordial greetings

Fritz Balthaus