Cultural range and its physical manifestation in the form of buildings are the driving force and content of innovative city development and planning. Curated by Matthias Sauerbruch, the exhibition Culture:City focuses on this phenomenon, exploring the relationship between architecture and daily reality—is thereby also observing the paradigm of the ‘Bilbao effect,’ one of the examples is Kunsthaus Graz itself.
The exhibition contrasts great architectural building forms with civilian self-initiatives, alternative and dynamic cultural and art projects in urban districts or abandoned building complexes. Thus the Pompidou Centre or the Bilbao Guggenheim are set against such projects as 2-3 Straßen in the Ruhr region, or the neighbourhood initiative Detroit Soup. At the core of the exhibition we see not only cities and architectural buildings, but also the social changes that trigger these projects. Democracy and civil society are key factors when reflecting on the city of the future. The selection of international examples—from spectacular architectural and art projects to the creative re-utilisation of empty buildings and urban areas, through to citizen-led initiatives—opens up a panorama of culture transformed into concrete. This not only provides a snapshot of achievements, but also allows individual cases to be evaluated and assessed. How far were the hopes of social evolution through building-driven intervention actually realised, with a productive moment ensuing? Beyond a physical presentation of plans and models, the exhibition is designed to offer the visitor special involvement: iPads deliver images and facts as well as in-depth background information.
Following its presentation at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, the exhibition will be shown at the Kunsthaus Graz. Matthias Sauerbruch has divided the selection of 37 cultural buildings into six thematic chapters. These take up the urban context and consider to what extent they grow out of the urban setting, or how they redefine their respective cities.
The first section—/From Forum to Icon/—shows seminal projects from the period around 1960/1970. These Architectures provide precedents for many projects to follow. Thus the second section—/New Icons/—addresses the inheritance of the Sydney Opera House and the so-called Bilbao Effect. The third section titled—/Acupunctures/—brings together interventions of minimal invasion and maximum effect. The fourth section—/City as Palimpsest/—shows a number of conversion projects that have rewritten the city. /Spaces of Knowledge/—is the fifth section: It illustrates the recent renaissance of the library. The sixth and final section—/The Building as a City/The City as a Building/—demonstrates cultural strategies that embed themselves into the city or re-establish a new city altogether.
A catalogue edited by Wilfried Wang, published by Lars Müller Publishers (Zurich) is available.
Curator: Matthias Sauerbruch
Co-curators: Wulf Walter Boettger and Caroline Wolf
Sponsored by Kulturstiftung des Bundes, in co-operation with Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB), kindly supported by Gesellschaft der Freunde der Akademie der Künste and University of Texas at Austin, O’Neil Ford Chair
An exhibition of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin