Gregor Schneider Unsubscribe

29.11.2014 – 01.02.2015 Gregor Schneider Unsubscribe

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

curator: Anda Rottenberg
cooperation: Julia Leopold

Gregor Schneider, one of the most highly regarded contemporary German artists who was awarded the Golden Lion at the Art Biennial in Venice in 2001, is realizing his latest project called “Unsubscribe” in Zachęta. In this work, Schneider again deals with the question of house, in both material and symbolic terms.

As was also the case in his earlier realisations, here we find reference to the artist’s place of birth – the town of Rheydt in Germany. Here also was born Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of the Third Reich. “This house found me itself,” says Schneider of the standard small town building in which Goebbels spent the first few years of his life and which, after by chance coming across a for sale advert, the artist decided to buy from the family who then lived there. The averageness of the house seems to hide the diverse stories of its successive inhabitants. Gregor Schneider explores the story of the creator of German propaganda as both an incarnation of evil and as a figure of a normal German family in the context of fascist politics.

Schneider’s decision to buy the house together with its contents (remnants of furniture, the remains of the library, garden tools, etc.), to carry out a detailed documentation and finally to dismantle it enable a return to history in both its particular and general dimensions: this is a work with both individual and group history. “May it at last disappear,” an inhabitant of a neighbouring house said to Schneider. The artist’s ambition is to destroy, to annihilate the different fragments of the house, without however enabling the memory of this place to disappear completely. The problem with memory, with history and with unwanted monuments is a universal problem, and one which also concerns us.

To Warsaw will be brought rubble from the building. The act of transporting rubble from Germany to Poland introduces an additional, dramatic and critical element into a project whose effect is not just the final exhibition in Zachęta, but the whole process to which the artist submits the building, treated as a mute witness of history.

The exhibition “Unsubscribe” can also be considered in the context of the exhibition “Progress and Hygiene” running simultaneously in Zachęta and also curated by Anda Rottenberg.

After the opening of the exhibition, a book will be published documenting the whole process and containing comments from the artist, curatorial texts and also an essay by one of the most outstanding German critics, Ulrich Loock.

Gregor Schneider was born in Rheydt in 1969. From the beginning of his artistic career, he has dealt with the topic of living spaces, rooms and houses seen as three-dimensional sculptures into which the viewer can quite literally enter. From the 1980s, he has housed these rooms in museum and gallery spaces. In 1985, he began work on his most famous project, whose unique realization was honoured in 2001 with the Golden Lion at the Venice Art Biennale. Totes Haus u r was an unusual project, comprised of building a house-studio in an already existing building, in other words of creating an exact double of the building. The artist totally contradicted an artist’s original function and sense, and in so doing created a space which evoked unexpectedly strong responses in those who visited it.  Schneider is also the author of other spectacular realisations, such as Cube, inspired by Kaaba in Mecca and projected for St. Mark’s Square in Venice, which finally stood in front of the Hamburg Kunsthalle in 2007, and the monumental End in front of the Abteilberg Museum in Mönchengladbach (2009). His work has been presented in Poland in the Foksal Gallery (1997, 2000) and in the National Museum in Szczecin (2012).  He has lectured in many European academies, in places such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Berlin. Today, he leads a studio in the Munich Academy of the Fine Arts.

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Gregor Schneider
29.11.2014 – 01.02.2015

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Godziny otwarcia:
Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.

Exhibition realised with support from the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation.
cooperation: Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin