Center No Center 2014, The House of Art, Budweis (CZ)

Center No Center 2014

The House of Art is located at the city’s central square, which can be reached by walking over its open surface or under the shelter of the arcades of the surrounding bourgeois buildings. From the perspective of the exhibition spaces, with a view of the Renaissance and Baroque Námestí Premysla Otakara II ensemble, it becomes evident that two dominant spatial concepts come together here. On the one hand, the square, which has been laid out in a strictly geometric order, and on the other the exhibition space, which orients itself toward the ideal of the quasi-sacral white cube.

Helwing has hung three carpet panels, circular segments that orient themselves toward the ideal of the circle, below the ceiling of the exhibition spaces. The formal proximity of his installation to the vaulted arches of the arcades and to the “rectangle” of the square is palpable. However, something ambivalent is also inherent in the nonfunctional use of the carpet, far from the conventional domestic context of the material. On the one hand, this impression is intensified by its “architectural,” space-creating use. On the other hand, the central exhibition space is transected by one of the carpet panels, so that the space cannot be accessed and the usual tour through the gallery’s spaces is interrupted. When entering the concave and convex room sections, viewers have the feeling that they are moving within a kind of stage space.

Aesthetic experiences that arise through the physical presence of the visitors in the space condense to raise of the question of to what extent architectural spaces influence modes of behavior, make individuality and reflection possible or impossible.