Michele Robecchi: Mirroring surfaces seem to be a recurrent theme in your work.
Karin Hueber: The different relations of views and meanings between object, human body, room, architecture and time are important in my work. According to the position of the viewer, the object might disappear completely as the surroundings in its mirroring surface become much more important than the object itself. This can also happen with the reflection of the viewer; it makes him think more about himself than the actual art piece. These moments — though intentional — happen accidentally. It is a rather playful approach to exhibition-making and to the question of the autonomy of an artwork.
MR: I was impressed with how you curved your sculpture to dialogue with the arches of the Kunsthaus Zürich at “Shifting Identities” (2008). How does responding to a strongly characterized architectural environment — as opposed to a white cube — affect your practice?
KH: For Lonesomeness (2008) I was particularly fascinated by the idea of opposing the strong, monumental architecture of the Kunsthaus with a piece of art that tried to assert itself, thereby indicating its frailty and the possibility of failing. Each exhibition space is charged with its own characteristic features which create an important part of the development of my sculptures. I am interested in set systems and social structures in architecture and their impact on human existence. I often try to extract the atmosphere of a given exhibition space and connect it to moods or feelings from life or literature (for example Georges Perec or Annemarie Schwarzenbach.) According to the architectural sites the theoretical or practical intensity of my work changes.
MR: How about your exhibition in Amden in 2008?
KH: That project was part of a series of exhibitions curated by Roman Kurzmeyer that takes place in an old wooden haystack high above the Walensee in Switzerland. For me it was important to establish a tension between the work and the place with its aged, weathered planks. For “Die mondänen Besucher II” I chose planed local fir wood with an unscathed surface and gave it a filigree appearance. The laths are almost like figures balancing precarious in the space. The title indicates it: they are visitors — strangers playfully scanning the place and disappearing without trace.
MR: Your work for “The Inside Out Exhibition” at Kunsthalle Basel was particularly well integrated with the wall, almost camouflaged. Was it your first outdoor piece?
KH: It was. It dealt with private intimate spaces in public locations and the impossibility to retreat. I wanted to arouse connotations to claddings or built-in furniture (a kind of a camouflage), but it is rather merger as the surface oscillates between a two- and a three-dimensional appearance. You could call it a kind of a parasitic form coming out of the plain wall.
MR: What are you working on at the moment?
KH: Along with the work on the concept for a group show at Chert in Berlin this June, I am looking at writings and works of German-Mexican architect and artist Mathias Goeritz. I am planning to create a new sculptural work there.
Karin Hueber was born in Basel in 1977. She lives and works in Basel and Rotterdam.
Selected solo shows: 2009: Kuttner Siebert, Berlin. 2008: Back wall, Kunsthalle, Basel; Atelier Amden, Amden (CH); Mark Müller, Zurich. Selected group shows: 2010: “Drinnen Und Draussen,” Chert, Berlin. 2009: “Vordemberge-Gildewart Art Grant,” Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau (CH); “3x3x3x3”, Galerie de multiples, Paris.
Michele Robecchi is a writer and curator based in London.