Visitors of the 48th Art Cologne
(10 to 13 April) can look forward to spectacular large-format sculptures and installations.
Outside of the entrance hall, three monumental bronze sculptures of the American artist Joel Shapiro catch the eye of the visitor. Shapiro, born 1941 in New York City, is considered one of the most important representatives of contemporary sculpture. The works presented at Art Cologne, Elevation I and Elevation II from the year 1994, as well as another untitled sculpture from 1996, move between abstraction and figuration. Despite the massiveness of the material, the minimalist-abstract design of the heads, torsos or limbs of the sculptures convey a lightness of movement and dance. The Museum Ludwig in Cologne dedicated a major show to Joel Shapiro in 2011. The Shapiro installations for Art Cologne 2014 are realised with the friendly support of the Galerie Karsten Greve (Cologne/Paris/St. Moritz).
A site-specific installation by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who is currently subject to a travel ban, was created especially for the entrance hall of Art Cologne. Ai Weiwei produced this large wallpaper work as a non-commercial work of art for two long walls that progress toward one another like a funnel. In addition to a large-format text image, upon which the artist requests the return of his passport confiscated by the Chinese authorities, the work reflects on Ai Weiwei's 'bouquet in bicycle basket' project. Every morning, a fresh bouquet of flowers will be placed in the basket of a bicycle chained in front of Ai Weiwei's studio in Peking, which is under camera surveillance, until the confiscated passport of the artist is returned to him. The installation for Art Cologne arose in cooperation with the 'FRIENDS OF AI WEIWEI', represented by their co-initiator Alexander Ochs, who is also appearing at Art Cologne as a gallery owner, and who has been presenting contemporary art from China here for many years. Already on 3 April 2014, the world's largest solo exhibition of Ai Weiwei opened in the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin.
Addressing issues of architecture and human interaction, the Danish artist Jeppe Hein presents a bench sculpture from the series 'Modified Social Benches' created in 2010 in the new boulevard of the upstairs exhibitor hall 11.3. Hein's artistic practice is informed by architecture, communication and social behaviour. Hein modified the basic form of a park bench in such a way that the usual behaviour pattern of passive, in some cases lonely lingering is disrupted. Sitting down instead involves increased activity, even extending to physical exertion. The locations at which the benches are found are thus infused with an active character, encourage dialogue and are given a social quality - a conscious reference to the contradiction of art and functional object. The Jeppe Hein sculpture is realised with the friendly support of Galerie Johann König, Berlin.