EUROPEAN KUNSTHALLE PHASE II
European Kunsthalle c/o Ebertplatz: This programmatic title stands for the second phase in the development of the European Kunsthalle in Cologne. It refers to a temporary location, a spatial structure, a series of art exhibitions, presentations and events.
The aim of the second phase was to give the European Kunsthalle more visibility by creating a temporary space for exhibiting art that would resonate with audiences in Cologne and internationally. Five accomplished artists were invited to devise three-dimensional structures that would articulate the idea of a temporary kunsthalle and could be used for exhibitions, screenings and discursive art events. This specification, along with the location itself (Ebertplatz is a pedestrian square in central Cologne with an under-recognised 1970s design based on rough concrete interpretations of the hexagon) served as the starting point for five very particular and exciting artists’ proposals ranging from marking out a space within a given space to solid architectonic structures that nonetheless signal a sense of their temporality.
Dorit Margreiter’s design, which was realised step by step since August 2008, envisioned the Ebertplatz itself as an already existing exhibition space. It conceived of the entire plaza as a given unit in which the artist incorporated new elements, redefining the space and suggesting new possibilities for how it can be used and perceived either by those specifically interested in art or by mere passers-by. In fact Margreiter’s elements of exhibition architecture made every passer-by a visitor to an outdoor kunsthalle. She consciously engaged aspects of the original urban planning, responding to the square’s function as a busy traffic hub and a transitory social space with an open and modular spatial organisation.
This concept for an existing public space proved to be both an inspiration and a challenge for the artists invited to work at Ebertplatz, but also for the curators and the audience. Dorit Margreiter’s spatial concept invited to re-think the definition of a ‘kunsthalle’ as an institutional space and the ‘exhibition’ as a communicative format. It triggered different exciting artistic responses to the specific situation at Ebertplatz.
Between spring 2008 and autumn 2009, a broad variety of artists such as Michel Auder, Michaela Eichwald, Christian von Borries, Vito Acconci, Artūras Raila, Janice Kerbel, Joachim Koester, Melvin Moti, Marcel Odenbach, Jürgen Stollhans, Stephen Willats, Julia Scher, Katja Davar, Miriam Bäckström and Yane Calovski showed their works within this specific context respectively developed new projects for it.
Parallel, the European Kunsthalle was invited to supervise the programming of Ludlow 38, the downtown satellite for contemporary art of the Goethe-Institut New York between August 2009 and May 2010. During this period, the European Kunsthalle curated a series of exhibitions with international renowned, mainly European artists emphasizing once more its decentralised character as well as collaborative structure.