Walking through the entrance, visitors found themselves surrounded by dunes of glistening sand that subtly pointed the way to the exhibition room. The smooth surface of the sand fostered a calm atmosphere, while reflecting the glorious light, which emanated from the richly ornamented chandeliers hovering above each dune. The chandeliers were made of the most finely cut crystals, epitomizing the archetype of imperial magnificence, yet appearing as though being magical mirages of light.
In this one-of-a-kind installation, Vasku & Klug – in cooperation with Preciosa – gave visitors the opportunity to get transported to an abandoned place by showcasing what could happen when man was no longer the main actor and any organized structure were to fall apart. Within any spectator of “Behind Locked Doors,” the installation evoked the childlike instincts that many seem to have long left behind: the curiosity to see what lies behind every door and the desire to scrutinize every corner to discover unknown secrets. Vasku & Klug’s intent was to build an installation that would call forth such emotional experiences without official curatorial guidance: “Spaces created and abandoned by man – whether they are individual buildings or entire cities – give the observer a genuine glimpse into the past. It is a static moment of history, which is more authentic than any museum display could ever achieve.”
To call the Hofburg Palace, or more specifically the foyer on Heldenplatz, an abandoned place of novelty might sound absurd at first. After all, a grand imperial building, which has stood its grounds for centuries and harbors profound cultural and historic significance, could not ever be a setting for anything “new and unfamiliar.” Yet, it takes only one step for the curious mind to realize that what one might initially think absurd could very well turn out to be a fascinating experience in the end. Stepping into the Hofburg foyer, one leaves behind the fast pace of one’s daily life, the hustle-and-bustle of the metropolis, which seems to only emphasize contemporary products, and instantaneously becomes part of a “historically charged” scenery, in which crystal chandeliers are interwoven with contemporary design giving off the appearance as if they were nothing but a mundane spectacle and not an extraordinary feat.
However, to achieve such a synergy between new and old, it was imperative to prevent clashes between the new and the old – which proves to be a fascinating matter of perception, and made the collaboration between Vasku & Klug and Preciosa, the world-famous Czech crystal vendor, a complementary endeavor.
ART&ANTIQUE Hofburg Vienna
from 8th to 16th November 2014
in the foyer of the Hofburg Palace, Vienna