Totes Haus ur 1986–97, Rheydt
Wall in front of wall, wall behind wall, corridor in room, room in room, wall in front of floor, floor above floor, ceiling beneath ceiling, lead around room, lead in the floor, light in room, cube in front of wall, red stone behind room, black stone in wall, piece of wall in front of wall, piece of wall beneath ceiling - many works of Gregor Schneider (b. 1969 in Rheydt) can be described as easily as he once has done in a list of his works.
For 12 years now, Gregor Schneider has been building in an inconspicuous, undated house in which he lives in Mönchengladbach-Rheydt walls in front of walls and rooms within existing rooms. The multitude of layers and the mass which the house has devoured over the years have led to even the artist being unable to reconstruct the original layout of the house without destroying it. "No one can access the final layers, except if the house were destroyed". (G.S.) There are concealed constructions; a room slowly revolving around itself, and rooms insulated with lead and sound-absorbing materials; the curtains are moved by air from a ventilator, and spotlights give the impression of daylight. It may happen that one exits this house oblivious and unsuspecting. "The irritation remains on the surface. We accept the room we are in". (G.S.)
However: Do invisible shifts and spatial superpositions also have an effect, do they alter our mood or our behaviour? In his search for places that are charged with energies of a past event, Gregor Schneider has time and again pursued the question pertaining to the way this radiation can be felt, remembered, suspected or imagined. No perceptual mode is excluded. "The concepts of visible and invisible do not play as big a role as conscious and subconscious perception, recognition and non-recognition."(G.S.)
For the exhibition at Portikus, Gregor Schneider takes down the first storey of his house in Rheydt and rebuild it in the exhibition hall. By uprooting and moving works of art or living spaces into an art space, the question of the status of the work becomes more pertinent. How does the transport and the shift of location influence the work?
"Exhibition is always a mortification of works. We all fail because of our high demands. After the exhibition I am alone again. Then I begin with the work all over again". (G.S.)