12. June 2012
Karlsplatz art passage
Seeing and being seen
With about 800 million passengers a year, Vienna’s public transport operator Wiener Linien boasts a large number of visitors that even successful art fairs can only dream of. More than 200,000 passengers move through the central transport hub at Karlsplatz daily. “The perfect place for a work of art”, is what people at the Wiener Linien thought and so a special space, or passage, was thus dedicated to art.
The said passage is seventy metres long, underground and one of the main connecting routes at the transport hub. The passage, which will go by the name Kunstpassage Karlsplatz in the future, will be designed by artist Ernst Caramelle. Together with eight international artists – four women and four men – Caramelle was invited to submit a concept, which would do justice to the difficult conditions of this underground passage area.
Fire-resistant fields of colourIn addition to the special architectural setting, the artists taking part in the competition advertised by “KÖR – Kunst im öffentlichen Raum”, a municipal office responsible for art in public space, also had to meet certain conditions to ensure the highest fire protection level. The only materials that could be used were stone, metal, glass or enamel. “We refrained from inviting artists who work with PVC, light or video,” as jury chairwoman Bettina Leidl conceded. Especially with video maintenance would have been more difficult.
The artist who is originally from Tyrol was able to win over the prominent members of the jury with his concept that consisted of transparent and opaque fields of colour, which the visitors are able to fully grasp as they walk by.
Caramelle explained his concept as follows: “Painting reacts to the specific architectural situation of the long passage with asymmetric fields of colour that optically change the space, allowing symmetric surfaces to emerge from various perspectives. Depending on one’s location the angles of the outlines change so that the passer-by is able to perceive the composition in an always different way.”
In best companyThe Kunstpassage Karlsplatz is the fifth project that KÖR has carried out in cooperation with the Vienna Public Transport Wiener Linien. Further projects are in the pipeline. There are further art projects that can be admired at Karlsplatz such as Ken Lum’s media installation “PI” and Peter Kogler’s recently opened installation.
Caramelle’s “wall paintings” can be admired from spring 2013 on. It will be one of the few works by the artist who is internationally active that will be on permanent display.
“In the early eighties I began with topographical mise-en-scènes. Almost all spatial paintings were only on view for a limited time and then disappeared after the exhibition. For this reason I am particularly delighted that I now have the opportunity to create a wall painting for the Kunstpassage Karlsplatz, which will be a permanent piece for public space”, as Caramelle stated with great satisfaction.
Right in time for the opening there will also be an exhibition with other submitted projects that were not translated into reality. These include sketches by Gerwald Rockenschaub, Markus Schinwald and Sarah Morris. A publication is also being prepared.
Ismail Gökmen/PID, Wiener Linien, Stephan Wyckoff