Christoph Büchel

Hauser & Wirth Coppermill

Acting as an obsessive set designer, Christoph Büchel has transformed Hauser & Wirth’s recently acquired warehouse space in London’s East End into Simply Botiful, 2006, the dystopian scene of a sprawling recycling camp and sweatshop fronted by a seedy hotel-cum-brothel and an import-export shop. Visitors must crawl through dirt tunnels and climb ladders to discover hidden spaces that suggest yearnings for escape—via religious transcendence, pornographic fantasy, and extremist ideology—ostensibly created by the imaginary inhabitants to help them survive in their terrible world. Cruelly, these passages only lead back to the same horrors.

Beyond the hotel’s reception area, with its telling red lights, cheesy furniture, and whiffs of mildew, a stairway leads to a series of small bedrooms suggestive of human desolation: They’re littered with well-thumbed porno magazines, used tissues, and condoms.

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