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Controversial artist Gregor Schneider creates a ‘haunting’ room

The visitor can expect a transformative, disorienting and possibly disturbing experience.

Gregor Schneider TOTES  HAUS u r, Venice 2001, 24 rooms from developed and doubled rooms of the House u r, Rheydt 1985-2001, mixed media © Gregor Schneider / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

In June the Art Gallery of NSW will integrate more of its international and Australian contemporary art collection with the John Kaldor Family Collection. More than 200 works, many which have not been seen before, will form part of the new display. Two highlight works will be a new commission by the award-winning German artist Gregor Schneider, entitled Basement Haus u r (Basement cellar house) 1985–2012 and Richard Long’s Stone line, which has not been seen in the Gallery since 1977.

“This initiative marks the start of a new era at the Gallery, in which a series of collection displays will chart the history of contemporary, international art since the 1960s,” said the Gallery’s head curator, international art, and curator of the new collection display, Anthony Bond. “The Gallery collection of contemporary international and Australian art since the 1960s is extensive – there are now 4000 works in our contemporary collection – but we have never been able to adequately exhibit them for lack of space. Now we can begin to show more, year by year, always creating new and surprising configurations.”

The contemporary galleries are set around art-historical movements or thematic groupings, including land art, minimalism, the body and affect, abstraction and the cabinet. The room dedicated to minimalism includes work by art luminaries Carl André, Daniel Buren, Donald Judd, Richard Serra and Frank Stella. Abstraction groups together works by Australian artists Robert MacPherson and Debra Dawes with internationals Bob Law, Roman Opalka and Cy Twomby. And the room that assembles cabinets or vitrines includes work by Americans Haim Steinbach and Mark Dion, and Australians Alex Rizkalla, Janet Laurence and Luke Roberts.

Richard Long’s Stone line was originally commissioned as Kaldor Public Art Project 7 in 1977 for the entrance court of the Gallery. It is twenty metres long, over two metres wide and consists of large slabs of basalt collected from one site in Australia.

Born in Germany in 1969, Gregor Schneider was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2001 for his infamous work Totes Haus u r, exhibited at the German Pavilion. Schneider later built the confronting Kaldor Public Art Project 21, beach cells, which created a dominating presence on Bondi Beach, Sydney, in 2007.

The artist is well known for the sensory aspects of his work. Since 1985 he has been rebuilding the interior spaces of his home in Mönchengladbach-Rheydt, Germany. As walls are removed or ceilings lowered, Schneider’s spatial incursions create a sense of claustrophobia. Such feelings of unease are heightened when the artist includes in the work lifeless, sculptural bodies covered in plastic or real people repeatedly performing everyday tasks.

For this latest commission, Gregor Schneider has created an eleven-by-four-metre room that has been shipped from Rheydt, Germany, and carefully inserted into the architectural fabric of the Gallery. A suite of photographs documenting Totes Haus u r accompanies his work. Gregor Schneider is in Sydney at the invitation of John Kaldor.

AGNSW contemporary galleries are supported by the Belgiorno-Nettis family.

Contemporary art with UBS

On view
From 2 Jun 2012
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney


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