in context of room, building and city


Heidenheim 2013, award winner Werk 13, media light, of the sculpture symposium Heidenheim, Bisy 2013th; nominator Axel Lieber, jury Prof. Dr. Wulf Herzogenrath, Dr. Ulrike Groos, Dr. René Hirner, Visualization, Dipl.Ing Rafal Wamka, Berlin, partners Richter Lighting Technologies, Heubach, Effektwerke, Pfreimd; making of use 

Fritz Balthaus: use



is a light installation at the Kunstmuseum Heidenheim. It is a neon installation, a sculptural luminous body on the building of the art museum. The two light text bodies "art" and "museum" have been placed in two prominent corners of the building, in highly frequented view axes from the city to the museum building. They refer to the building as an art museum and have a conspicuous defect, because a meaningful error has been built into the illuminated text word "museum". The defect consists in the fact that the part "use" from the word "museum" is temporarily out of light and does not shine continuously like the other letters. The word part "use" flashes up again and again for a short time as if there were defective neon tubes in the three letters.


At first glance, the converted art nouveau swimming pool becomes more recognizable in its current use as an art museum and informs visitors to the city of Heidenheim. But with the "light defect" of the letters u, s and e in the illuminated word "museum" described above, it also becomes legible in a different, more subtle way. With this second look, "use" appeals to a public to actively use, use, visit this museum, but perhaps also makes the claim that it is already "used". Since the independence of the museum has been socio-politically questioned, it has been at the mercy of the free play of forces of the most diverse interests to a greater extent than before, and has been subjected to a much more useful "use". Collectors, curators, politicians, and last but not least artists always use the institutional museum context in their own sense and interest. Use" could also stand for this. Thus, the permanently defective neon sign can also be understood as a vivid "art ruin" of romantic reading, built from the beginning, and raise critical-melancholy questions about the current situation of the institution.