The installation "Beloved Monster" grew from my interest in the disparity between the desire for preservation of cultural heritage and the social values inscribed in it, and its devastation underlined by the neoliberal state desire of creating profit-oriented cityscapes.
I am referring to the “brutalist” building on the Kepler square near the main train station and the ART LAB Gleis 1 exhibition space in Regensburg, built in 1974 by the architect Werner Wirsing (* 1919- † 2017) .
This concrete and metal building with colorful blue and red facade was a social project and has served as a student residence for generations of young people from different countries. The building has been demolished in January 2020, in spite of the protests from the local professional community and citizens, fighting for protection of this cultural heritage site. The demolition marks the beginning of the redevelopment of the Kepler square
There are 2 main works that define the exhibition space of the Art Lab Gleis 1.First work is the “Grey. Blue. Red.“; a wall painting that uses the colors of the original buildings’ facade in a raster, ‘interrupted’ by rows of circular patterns created by copying the play of light from the original façade:
the light would shine through the fence-holes throwing a circular pattern on the building's facade.
One of this round color patterns is an actual hole in the wall – a peephole, through which the exhibition visitor can see the video of the Wirsing's tower being collapsed, in slow motion. This viewing experience allows a position of intimacy and contemplation of our role as citizens, while simultaneously underlining the passivity of the voyeuristic position and our complicity with the theatricality of destruction.
Further on there is a dynamic play of newly created objects in the rest of the exhibition space. There are three large sculptural ‘stations’ , each consisting of a lifted wooden platform holding a five meter long metal fence - acquired from the Wirsigturm after its devastation- twisted into a new shape and supported with additional metal and wood construction. These long fences bended into new shapes celebrate the idea of the balcony as a space of interaction, shared experience, community and having a voice.
© Luiza Margan 2021