das ruhr-atoll (exhibition catalogue)

this is what living in this year’s european capital of culture (ruhr2010) boiled down to for me – conceptual artist norbert bauer‘s ruhr-atoll project. seven months* of hands-on and hands-off exhibition support, some press conferences, meeting a couple of new (to me) artists (ilya and emilia kabakov for example), lots of interaction with visitors from all sorts of backgrounds, and generally the creative chaos that comes with these types of projects. i loved it! and now, it’s all condensed into this:

the catalogue: quite a handful 

to be honest i somehow feel that this post only marginally qualifies for the bookshelf blog, since i am not reading this book – on the other hand, i have read it about 25 to 30 times over the past two months while it was being put together. i did a lot of proof reading for typos, clarity and style, as well as researching and double-checking information for some of the texts etc.

model for “amphitheater” by stefan sous

when the three plastic wrapped crates of books plopped down onto the concrete floor of the exhibition hall three days ago it was an emotional moment. on the one hand, it felt nice to have the finished book in hand, and of course it took less than two minutes for me to find the one typo we missed (it’s on the last page), but on the other hand it felt like now the project was truly over.

model for “project for the preservation of natural resources”
by ilya & emilia kabakov

i spent every single day since mid-may working for this exhibition, telling people about it, answering the phone and innumerable emails in the name of it, i even overcame my deep and utter distrust of water so i could be on the baldeney lake for hours at a time one or two days a week minding one exhibit or other.

the baldeney lake: not for swimming
(not that i was going to anyway…)

today, i spent almost five hours in the unheated exhibition hall (formerly a large production room for a factory for high voltage electricity dingbats) presenting the catalogue and telling the stories once more of the ruhr-atoll and of the other projects that came before it.

one of 395 pieces of art that form the
“grundsteinkiste” – our 1994 project

despite three layers of clothing and some mulled wine, i got pretty cold pretty soon, but it was ok. i can handle one more day. tomorrow i will wear a skirt over the other three layers to keep my kiste warm – depending on how things work out, i might be stuck in the cold (the door is open, so it is the same temperature as outside, which is currently -7 celsius) from 11am to 6pm.

detail from model for “space elevator”
by gloria friedmann and olivier boissard

so here it is – the catalogue for the ruhr-atoll. 158 pages, a lot of stunning full colour photographs (some double-sided) and explanatory texts (in german) for all of the project entries, not just the ones that ended up on the lake. for those of you who like numbers, the exhibit on the lake was seen by about 3 million people, and about 35,000 people made their way across the water to explore each of the artificial islands for themselves.

a summer (and autumn) well spent.
*) only seven months for me – norbert had been working on this project for seven years already when it finally took form. talk about perseverance! 


About annette.c.boehm

words escape me.

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