Karin Hueber


Saturday, November 15, 2008
5pm: Inauguration of the new project for the back wall of Kunsthalle Basel. Followed by drinks and grill.

At regular intervals in recent years, international artists have presented various projects on the back wall of the Kunsthalle Basel next to the Elisabethenkirche: among others, Sarah Morris produced a large mural in 2002, and in 2004 Piotr Uklanski created a mosaic of porcelain dishware on the outside wall. From November 2007 to September 2008, the Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi showed a series of drawings on the back wall that grappled with both local political observations and subject matter from world events.

The young Swiss artist Karin Hueber (b. 1977), who lives and works in Basel and Rotterdam, will offer yet another view of the passageway between the building of the Kunsthalle, the theater, and the Elisabethenkirche beginning on November 15, 2008.

Karin Hueber’s artistic oeuvre is concerned with architecture and the question of the physiological and psychological effects of specific spaces on people. Her minimal and elegant sculptures often enter into an intense dialogue with the architectural characteristics of the exhibition site: In a subjective yet analytical way, the artist explores the proportions and scales of the spaces and reveals them in altered form. Usually her sculptures are made of simple materials such as untreated wooden boards that Hueber combines with flat surfaces finished with high-gloss paint or mirrors. The arrangement of the individual elements expands the existing architectural context, in which unnoticed or hidden corners and structures of the architecture are reflected and thus open up surprising perspectives and prospects for the viewer. Hueber’s objects are integrated in space but nevertheless remain autonomous; for example, her Parasitäres Ensemble I and II (Parasitic Ensemble I and II), in which the artist placed painted boards in an opening of the exhibition space—a barn in the Alps (Atelier Amden, 2008)—and thus, on the one hand, accentuated the function of the hatch (for hay) and, on the other hand, used the reflective surfaces to join the floors and reoccupy them. In addition, the artist spanned thin wooden slats between the floor and ceiling and used these fragile objects and most elementary constructional elements to encircle questions of the viewer’s movement in space and the construction of the notion of “security“ as such.

On the back wall of the Kunsthalle Basel, Hueber specifically addressed human well-being in space and its significance as “housing.” She juxtaposes with public space an abstract composition that recalls an interior turned inside out: the artist painted wood surfaces and volumes with glossy and flat paints and mounted them directly on the wall. The orientation and height of the installation-like ensemble points to an interior and is reminiscent of wall panels or built-in furniture. In the interplay with planes of color painted directly on the wall, various recessions and hollows result whose sizes are based on the human body. The connections to the furnishings suggest a possible functional use, but at the same time the construction remains in its totality a (two-dimensional) image whose color and choice of materials structures perception and produces connections to the interior and exterior space: spatial intimacy is evoked; at the same time, the fragmentary, distancing, and hard surface structure does not offer a genuine place of retreat. By thematizing the private, intimate space within a public space, Karin Hueber also calls into question the site of her work between the Kunsthalle and the Elisabethenkirche, its possibilities for use and our expectations of this urban passageway that is not normally inviting as a place to linger.

Karin Hueber b. 1977 in Zwingen, Switzerland. Lives and works in Basel and Rotterdam.
Solo shows: 2008 Karin Hueber, Atelier Amden, Amden; Karin Hueber, Guestroom, Galerie Mark Müller, Zürich / 2007 Black Out (with Stefan Roigk), Galerie Kuttner Siebert, Berlin; Night Waltz, Galerie Laurin, Zürich / 2006 Lust (with Dagmar Heppner and Kilian Rüthemann), Kunststiftung Erich Hauser, Rottweil (cat.); Sticks & Stones (with Dagmar Heppner), Vrits, Basel / 2004 No more (with Dirk Krecker), Schalter, Basel.
Group shows (selection): 2008 Die Kugeln! Die Kreise! Die Räder!, Altefabrik/ Kunst(Zeug)Haus, Rapperswil (cat.); Swiss Art Awards 2008, Messezentrum Basel, Basel; SOMETIMES YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH AN IDEA, Cluster, Berlin; Shifting Identities: (Schweizer) Kunst heute, Kunsthaus Zürich (cat.) / 2007 Poor Thing, Kunsthalle Basel; Vrits, Basel; Home Is Somewhere Else, Duende studios, Rotterdam; Fork, Foundation B.a.d, Rotterdam / 2006 Regionale 7, Kunst Raum Riehen; Unterwegs zur Arbeit, Iaab Choices, Kunst Raum Riehen; Ausstellung Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt, Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz; Showroom 1, Bollag Areal, Basel; Parallax, Stichting Kaus Australis, Rotterdam.

Impressions of the opening by Sandro Mazzoni

With the generous support of: