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Art initiative in Bonn: Empty Kaiserpassage becomes a pop-up art exhibition

Art initiative in Bonn : Empty Kaiserpassage becomes a pop-up art exhibition

Artists will now have a chance showcase their work in Bonn city center. In several empty stores in the Kaiserpassage, objects of art will be on display. Initiator Sibylle Feucht has observed that more passers-by are now walking through the passage.

The art exhibition "PASSAGE" is taking advantage of temporary vacancy in the Kaiserpassage to give the spaces new life. A pop-up exhibition offers artists a visible platform in the city center, and is intended to provide visitors with an eye-catching experience even outside of opening hours and despite contact restrictions.

Artists are currently allowed to display their works on a few hundred square meters of space in several storefronts. In the former office space of Zurich Insurance, old and new sculptures and paintings by contemporary artists will be on display until the end of the year.

The project is financed through federal funding within the framework of “Neustart Kultur” and the Kunstfonds foundation. The cooperation between Sybille Feucht and Halina Szalc offers artists such as Jonas Hohnke an enlarged exhibition space in the Passage and is designed to enhance the look of one's own surroundings, as well as to convey a connection to the here and now.

The paintings of Saarbrücken artist Armin Rohr still adorn one space in the Kaiserpassage. His best-known works are characterized primarily by a linkage of abstract wall installations.

Sculptures by Kai Richter have also been gracing the otherwise bare spaces of the arcade for several weeks. The sculptor relies on building materials such as beams, scaffolding, assembly foam or concrete. The surroundings are filled with an expressive dynamic and allow the sculptures to enter into a kind of dialogue with the space that surrounds them.

Initiator Sibylle Feucht's colorful light box installations made of glass offer a somewhat different view of high seats and hunting lodges. As a passionate hiker, she has dealt a lot with the "functional design that only serves to wait for the game." "Unused, high seats seem like strange monuments that mark imaginary boundary lines between hunting areas." Hunting, a remnant of the early days of food gathering, is now mostly privilege and prestige surrounded by an aura of the wild, hence the apt title "Wild Life" (2021).

Swedish artist duo Hillside Projects presents the textile wall installation "Memorial for the Lost" (2021) at the Passage. The images by Emily Berry Mennerdahl and Jonas Böttern symbolize grief, loss and the human-induced extinction of species, which is considered the greatest in history.

The Kaiserpassage is a particularly suitable exhibition venue, says Sybille Feucht. Because it is not a classic exhibition space, rather a passageway with some stores. "It's somehow a strange place that doesn't invite people to linger. But for artists and institutions it is very attractive," says Feucht. That's because it's about exhibiting art in the middle of everyday life, for example, next to a children's shoe store. "It makes a huge difference whether these spaces are occupied, whether they contain something, or whether they are simply empty," the artist finds. In the best case scenario, she says, the Kaiserpassage, recently considered a dreary place of emptiness, could attract more passersby. "It should be attractive to walk through the passage instead of going around the outside," she says. For a few days now, she says, more passers-by have been coming through the Passage, partly because a new Asian store opened in the space of the former DM store at the same time as the opening of the art exhibition.

"There were always spontaneous reactions from people, there was an 'aha' moment, people realized, 'Something is happening here now.'" Some people passing by, however, might not notice at all in their morning rut that art is being exhibited in the arcade. "If people notice, that's great. But we don't want to draw attention to our project with huge banners and signs; it should be more en passant," says Feucht.

She adds that other exhibitions are also planned for the Passage until the end of the year, such as a collaboration with Alanus University in September. "There is not a set theme, it should be as colorful and diverse as possible."

Orig. text: Abir Kassis

Translation: ck