Well known for his subterranean excavations, obsessions with digging and tunnelling as well as demolishing and rebuilding anew, Austrian artist Hans Schabus's practice explores ideas around fictional journeys as well as the transient nature of public space.
For his first UK solo show, Schabus will draw together elements from the unique architectural vocabulary of the Barbican Centre, offering the visitor new experiences and insights into this utopian London landmark. Drawing inspiration from the fact that the 80 metre length of The Curve wall mirrors that of a large aeroplane, Schabus presents an installation of 461 chairs, dramatically arranged on a 90˚ angle along the crescent-shaped wall. The chairs, sourced exclusively from the Barbican Centre, provide an archaeology of the design history and embody the diverse nature of its activities.
The chairs presented here are suggestive of power and subservience; a sense that is nowhere more evident than in an aeroplane where the occupant relinquishes all individual rights to a controlling faceless system.
To complement this dramatic installation, where chairs are ordered according to colour and form, sound will be streamed live from specific points around the Barbican Centre, subliminally recording the passage of time.
Reflecting the centrality of publishing to Schabus's practice, Barbican Art Gallery have commissioned the artist to produce a bookletâavailable free of chargeâfurther exploring the function and symbolism of the chair.