EUROPA ENDLOS - EUROPE ENDLESS

Kunsthaus Bregenz

     
     
26m x 2m
     
2000
 

 

Bregenz in Austria lies at the head of the Bodensee, a sliver of Austria hemmed in between Swtzerland and Germany, a matter of a few kilometers away on either side. Coming from cotland, somewhere on the periphery of Europe it it fascinating to fly to Zurich, get the train through the mountains of Switzerland into Austria, deep in the heart of historic Europe. Bregenz is a very rich town, and has a curiously 19th century feel to its grand promenades, gardens, palaces and postcard-views. It has been a summer holiday town for 300 years.

 
The title Europa Endlos itself comes from the 1977 Kraftwerk record, ĎTrans Europe Expressí,. Kraftwerk were, in their day, the apotheosis of modern music, all electronically created yet parodoxically in this song discussing, with a mantra like simplicity, the dubious and decadent history of a European Tradition. This creates a stimulating tension between the form and content. In a sense, my piece functions in a similar way with the building on which it rests

The Kunsthaus, designed by Swiss architect, Peter Zumtor is an award winning piece of ultra modernism. It is 95% concrete and glass, and has no external walls, simply a covering of glass panels. This building, arrogant, alienating, yet very beautiful somehow encapsulates, for me, a certain European tradition. The recent rise of the right in Austria and subsequent European outrage prompted much discussion about Austria and itís place in Europe, and its relationship with those wishing to enter fortress Europe. EUROPA ENDLOS, 30m up and 25m long, is perched on top of this modern classic, like a continental hotel of a hypothetical future Europe. It sits at the head of the largest lake in Europe, surveying itís territory.

Of course the critical paradox is that the text Europa Endlos in itself is completely ambigous, and functions in such a way as to transparently position the viewer depending on their beliefs and politics.