Das Glaserne U-Boot


Das gläserne U-Boot (The glass submarine) is a transparent vessel in a transparent medium—at least as defined by John Hilliard in his catalogue essay for this exhibition. This poetic metaphor was offered as inspiration to 27 artists who were invited to indulge their wildest and freest associations on the subject. The exhibition space, an old tobacco factory in Krems, a wine-producing region 40 miles west of Vienna, was like a tourist dream of the 1950s. However, Richter/Gerngross, the exhibition architects, provided a rather tight corset of sheet metal and concrete for the building’s three stories.

An outside elevator took visitors to the top floor, where their still-innocent eyes were instantly blinded by a harsh spotlight. This severe, almost crude treatment was not unappealing; however, it monopolized the viewer’s attention to the detriment of the artworks. Indeed, such ambivalence in

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