Light art and design at the Haus Konstruktiv

Large, empty spaces, vibrant neon compositions, and walk-in artworks are the main ingredients of the exhibitions currently displayed at the Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich. We visited them on a cold afternoon, drawing energy from their colours and we are sure they can be good for an artsy, festive day.

We followed the regular exhibition path stumbling, at first, into the unexpected white-almost-empty spaces dedicated to the Iranian artist Nairy Baghramian. As the title of the exhibition suggests, the six large sculptures seem to grab visitors by the “scruff of the neck”. It’s their intrinsic, unintelligible nature that speaks for itself, raising big question marks in the visitors’ mind. What are those installations? Are they dental prosthesis, and the hall that hosts them a giant mouth? We’ll give you the chance to find your own answer. Moving to the floor above, we continued to play with the alternation of space and emptiness observing a giant dog’s bone divided into two parts. We felt uncomfortable and, to be sincere, we didn’t really get the meaning of the object showcased. Later on, we would have discovered that this kind of reaction was behind the inspirational idea of the entire Baghramian exhibition. Our afternoon was enriched by the works of Bernd Ribbeck abstract paintings that led us to the “Lyrical Minimalism” of Christian Herdeg.

Monochromatic spaces were replaced by compositions of fluorescent tubes by one of the first Swiss artists to use the light as an art mediumNeon Stage (2011) was definitely one of the most catchy artworks: 77 argon and neon light tubes arranged on a platform create a work of art with a strong pop-art soul. We were also attracted by his series of works that investigate the relationship between colours and geometrical shapes. Christian Herdeg developed, together with chemists, pigments that affect the inert gasses of the neon tubes modulating the resulting chromaticity. The most coloured exhibition flowed into a more shaded area, the Fritz Glarner “Rockefeller Dining Room” (revisited by Alfredo Häberli). Interior design and art enhance each other in this walk-in artwork that is represented by the room in its entirety. The original idea was preserved and, at the same time, modernized by specially-designed furniture. Chairs seem three-dimensional sketches you can see through when having no padding; the big glass table at the center is a subtle focal point that talks with the surrounding walls in a discrete yet constant way. The gray shades of the room pay their tribute to the original project creating a new, permanent area that gives the visitors a bite of relational painting.

Photo credits: Valeria Crescenzi

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