Borrowed Window Piece

Borrowed Window Piece, 2011

The installation Borrowed Window Piece is, like Bilateral—Diagonal (2011), one of my works whose most important point of reference is the architecture of Rudolph Schindler. Although it is not directly site-specific, I developed the work for the exhibition space in the Kunstsaele Berlin. Borrowed Window Piece concerns one of two window designs I produced after my stay in Los Angeles in the spring of 2011. The window for the exhibition at the Kunstsaele alludes to the window configuration of the Lechner House, built in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, in 1948.

Various aspects that interest me are interwoven in this work: First, I displaced an architectonic element into another spatial context; second, I “borrowed” it, which gave me the opportunity to treat it sculptural and thus make it possible to experience it situationally. Placing the work in the room emphasized a third aspect: the articulation and effect of the diagonal axis of the room. I linked these three aspects in my Interplay exhibition at the Kunstsaele. As the exhibition’s title already suggests, it resulted in a multilayered interplay of these three aspects but also between the three planes of Borrowed Window Piece, between the work and the room, and situationally between the viewers on both sides of the window.

I placed Borrowed Window Piece in the space in such a way that its diagonal axis was made the center of attention, resulting in a completely new spatial situation.

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Finally, it makes a big difference whether one’s spatial experience is oriented according to the demarcation lines of the right angles of architectural spaces or whether the diagonal axis of the space is grasped by the eye. In the latter case, namely, the space seems to open up suddenly, creating the impression of unsuspected spatial distance. Because the space loses its usual “rationalist” delineation, it can be experienced in its three-dimensionality.

Borrowed Window Piece consists of three different elements standing on the floor that come together as a “window piece.” The various framings and internal subdivisions give the viewers various opportunities to experience inside and outside and the contact between the two halves of the room. With the largest element, one can see the other side of the room through the glass; at the same time, slight reflections resulting on the surface of the glass make the viewers aware of their own spatial situation. Thus a dialogue with visitors on the other side would scarcely be possible. With the second element, by contrast, one can establish direct contact with the other side both auditorily and physically. The muntins of the window scale the view, so that the space on the other side appears to be subdivided. The third element is the most reminiscent of part of a house. Visitors can walk through the element to the other side.

With Borrowed Window Piece I wanted to create a work that enters life or the culture in its totality rather than being experienced by the eye alone.

A Schindler quotation in Five California Architects (1960) by the American author and architectural historian Esther McCoy provided the direction for my reflection on materiality: “The sense for the perception of architecture is not the eyes—but living. Our life is its image.”

Materials: wood, glass, gray paint on casein foundation
Dimensions: 1st window element: 396 x 265 cm; 2nd window element: 146 x 300 cm; 3rd window element 262 x 265 cm

Borrowed Window Piece | Photo: Jan Brockhaus

Borrowed Window Piece | Photo: Jan Brockhaus