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Since 15 September, when the exhibition "Souvenir, Souvenir?!" was opened, visitors have been able to gain an entirely new perspective of St Peter's Cathedral in Regensburg: they may take the building in their hands, may turn it, and take a look at its roof. And they may ask themselves the question whether this object, which appears in four different colours here, really is a souvenir … The exhibition will be on show in Neupfarrplatz square in Regensburg until 29 September.
Observers in Regensburg's Neupfarrplatz square are requested to get involved: Ottmar Hörl's art in this public space invites visitors to take an active part in his installation, challenging them to engage in discussions, to touch and grasp art. As its title, "Souvenir, Souvenir?!", suggests, the current exhibition publicly broaches the issue of a private culture of remembrance; with the word "souvenir" being just another term for "remembrance".
With his new installation, Ottmar Hörl is opening up the space between St Peter, the Gothic edifice, and its commercialisation as a souvenir. One hundred and fifty coloured Cathedral sculptures, meticulously arranged on a shelf measuring fifteen metres in length and three metres in height, are making the building tangible in a unique manner: larger than regular souvenirs, the plastic sculptures are reminiscent of architectural models. Visitors are in a position to get a vivid impression of some of the details of the Gothic building, to explore the feel of them, and have a close look at them: the spires, flying buttresses, pinnacles, and abutments – all the characteristic features of Gothic architecture. The elements that may otherwise only be detected by a micro air vehicle, are made visible for the observer thanks to the sculptures. This special perspective turns the sculptures into ambassadors of the City of Regensburg.
However, these "ambassadors" are shifty: they try to get lookers-on to think beyond such concepts as "original" and "model". These 150 exhibits are serial works of art that not only echo the original construction and its 150-year-old spires, but are also part of a unique art event.
In this sense, the sculptures are moving far beyond their role as a "souvenir" or "model", claiming a different kind of originality that is inherent in themselves and separate from the unique edifice that is St Peter's Cathedral.
The original character of these sculptures lies in the fact that they are part of an open Gesamtkunstwerk where the artist sees himself as a dialogue partner who merely provides the stimulus which – incidentally – opens up new perspectives in space.
Fotos: Eva Schickler