In its public rotunda, the SCHIRN presents a new interactive installation by Maruša Sagadin. Here are 5 reasons why it's worth a visit.
1. An interactive art experience in honour of Slovenia
On the occasion of Slovenia's participation as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair) 2023, the SCHIRN presents a site-specific installation by the artist in its Rotunda from September 21, 2023, to January 14, 2024. With “Luv Birds in toten Winkeln”, the artist interacts with the conditions of the Rotunda as a semi-public space, assembling together monumental sculptures from three key groups of works, which allude to passageways, pillars, and benches; the entire installation can be traversed by visitors or used as a spot to linger. The exhibition will open on September 20, 2023, at 7 p.m. with a DJ set by Anásta of Ustanova Platform (Ljubljana).
2. REFLECT ON INEQUALITIES, BUT WITH A WINK
Her use of humor and exaggeration, both in her formal language and in her use of color, exposes the social mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion found in urban built environments, while breaking with established norms of viewing art.
Marie Oucherif, curator of the exhibition, notes:
“In her work, Maruša Sagadin examines issues of spatial design, sculpture, and feminism. The installation in the Schirn’s Rotunda combines these three elements to encourage reflection on the social and gender inequalities inscribed in urban public space. Nonetheless, this is always done with a wink and a smile —Sagadin's works combine lightness and joy with profound reflection.”
3. rediscovering architecture
Sagadin's attention is focused on often overlooked architectural structures, which she imbues with new meanings, functions, and physical associations. Taking “blind spots” as the intellectual point of departure for her installation in the ScCHIRN's Rotunda, Sagadin considers the contradictions inherent in quotidian architecture in urban space, such as staircases, sidewalk curbs, and rows of houses. By definition, blind spots can be difficult to observe, dangerous, or obstructive, but at the same time they can serve as places of retreat, rest, or hiding. With “Luv Birds in toten Winkeln”, the artist thus refers to places on the periphery of our gaze, and the possibility of granting them new meanings.
4. WITH TONGUES, NOSES AND BELLIES AGAINST NORMATIVE SPECIFICATIONS
Her sculptures made of wood, concrete, and cardboard convey accessibility through their set-like appearance, bright colors, cartoonish elements, and sprawling forms that immediately invite interaction. The humorous titles
of her works often function as parodic proverbs, playfully highlighting the disconnect between language and attribution. A recurring motif throughout Sagadin’s work are stylized body parts that create a sense of intimacy: for instance, the four works produced specifically for the exhibition—
"Luv Bird (Noses)", "Luv Birds (Tongues)", "Luv Bird (Belly)", and "Schlechter Witz [Bad Joke]" (all 2023) — create a direct relationship with the viewer through their overproportioned body parts. Huge noses, licking tongues, and rounded bellies additionally resist conventional attributions and challenge what it means for bodies (or parts of bodies) to fall outside of societal norms.
5. A DIFFERENT KIND OF ART VIEWING
Works, such as "Paravent [Screen]" (2022) and "Nasse Füsse [Wet Feet]" (2022), are passages made of facade components that interrupt the Rotunda’s space; they create interstices for alternative perspectives and open up new paths through the exhibition. In addition, sculptural benches such as "Selbe Schuhe, andere Wohnung [Same Shoes, Different Apartment] (Luisa)", "Schlechte Laune ohne Kiosk und Küche [Bad Mood without a Kiosk and Kitchen] (Juliana)", and "Summer" (all 2020) offer a place to linger and sit, much like more comfortable sidewalk curbs. They thus resist conventional notions of art’s reception as one that is active, rational, and the prerogative of upright bodies. At the same time, they call for a critical examination of established forms of viewing art by encouraging viewers to engage in aesthetic contemplation while at rest.