UNUSUAL PLACES TO EXHIBIT ART

A work of art when placed in a gallery loses its charge, and becomes a portable object or surface disengaged from the outside world.

                                                                                                Robert Smithson (Land Art artist)

Most of the time, we are accustomed to see the artwork in museums or galleries. But what happens when artists or curators choose to give other places the function of an exhibit place? Does the artwork loses its significance and value, or it becomes even more visible and gains value by receiving new audiences? Here are some places that are a must-see exhibit spaces:

The traveler gets off the train, passes through a passage, climbs to the first floor, and enters into the… Europa Expo. This is happening at the Liège-Guillemins train station (Belgium), an impressive building designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava (born 1951, Benimamet/Valencia, Spain) and finished in 2009 after 10 years of work. Every year, the architecture of the train station attracts many tourists, and the building has become a symbol and the most photographed edifice in the city (according to CNN). The prestige of the location is also given by the exhibition hall Europa Expo; in 2016, it hosted the exhibition From Salvador to Dalí – a fascinating journey, a surrealist and delusive evocation of the opera and life of Salvador Dalí (1904-1989, Figueres / Catalonia, Spain) displayed on a 2000 square meter circuit. This exhibition attracted 185,000 people. Another event that attracted a large audience was the Terracotta Army exhibition (2016-2017): the exhibition hall hosted 120 replies of the Chinese soldiers, authorized by the Emperor of China. The funeral site of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, has been discovered in 1974 and counts 8,000 clay sculptures on an area of ​​56 km². This autumn, inEuropa Expo is displayed the Génération 80 Experience! – an exhibition that proposes the exploration of a moment that has completely changed the world order by imposing a generation for whom freedom was more than anything: the year 1968.

If you go to Zaragoza (Spain), you must see the Pabellón Puente (The Bridge Pavilion), a 280-metre-long covered bridge, a gladiola shape “thrown” over the river Ebro. This interesting building has been designed by the British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid (1950, Baghdad, Iraq – 2016 Miami, USA). For this building, the architect chose materials such as reinforced concrete and fiber glass; the Bridge is covered with 29,000 triangular pieces of fiberC, disposed in different shades of gray, which offer an ellipsoidal and aerodynamic look. The Bridge Pavilion has been constructed for Expo 2008 in Zaragoza (whose theme was Water and Sustainable Development), and the first exhibition hosted here was Water – a unique resource. At the end of the event, the bridge was purchased by Ibercaja Bank and used for exhibitions.

For a short moment, The Amsterdam Airport could become an exhibition place for the traveler who makes a stop here. A little gallery decorated nicelywith elements taken from Dutch art (tulips and motifs from Delft’s ceramics) was the “entrance” in the universe of Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. This space offers the possibility of displaying 20 paintings,as a place to promote the museum and introduces the visitor into an intimate space, bounded to the annoyance specific to an international airport. Among the exhibitions that took place here, we mention: Bruegel in Business, Vincent van Gogh: Nature Close-Up, Sunny Skies in the Golden Ages, Holland and Japan: 400 Years of Trade, Dutch People, Dutch Landscapes.

But the most unusual exhibition design for this location was realized by Paul Barsch in 2016, entitled Paintings Roughly Reflecting on Humans and Human Habits, but Mostly Viewed by Cows, this project presented the artists Louisa Gagliardi, Hamishi Farh and Ulrich Wulff and was placed in a stable in the Safien Valley in the Swiss Alps, in front of a bovine public. The idea of exhibiting art in a barn was initiated by Allie Linn and Colin Alexander, two collaborators who opened an exhibition in this unusual place, in Connecticut in 2016, after closing their gallery in the city. As for exhibition in these“peripheral” spaces, the audience is to accept them as “places of art”!

                                                                                                Silvia Suciu

Photos explanations:

Inside the exhibition From Salvador to Dalí, Liège.

The exhibition Paintings Roughly Reflecting on Humans and Human Habits, but Mostly Viewed by Cows.

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