Plastic cabin becomes art gallery in Germany
Apr 11, 2007, 17:29 GMT
Weimar, Germany - A boxy type of plastic cabin which is a familiar sight in cities of eastern Europe underwent a fresh transformation in Germany Wednesday, opening as a mini-art-gallery in the city of Weimar.
The project marks the 40th birthday of the K67, a glass-fibre kiosk which houses news-stands, parking attendants, chip friers and lottery sellers in many cities. The coloured modules can even be bolted together into larger pavilions.
The return of the K67 to Weimar, in the formerly communist part of Germany, also highlights the run-up to Documenta 12, a huge art event to be held in Germany this summer.
East Germans have almost forgotten the toy-style booths, which can have windows on one or all four sides. Staff of the Bauhaus University of Weimar found their specimen in Poland and put it up on a street outside the campus.
'These kiosks are places of communication in the eastern European cities,' explained Markus Schlaffke, one of the organizers. That is the symbolic meaning of the booth in Weimar.
'The Bauhaus is something sacred, a mecca of good design. We wanted to confront it with this scruffy little booth,' Schlaffke said. 'We're prising open the ivory tower, appealing to the students to think outside their own box.'
'The K67 itself has often been shown in architecture and design exhibitions. But we wanted to be first to use one as an art venue,' said Schlaffke, a design graduate.
For several weeks, the kiosk will be used in installations and will also serve as an information booth on foreign student exchanges, with counsellor Jana Mangold inside to tell students how to spend a semester abroad.
The art project is to climax in August with the K67 being transported to Kassel, northern Germany.
The artists and students will set it up at the 'Art Station' and demonstrate their art as an accompanying event to Documenta 12, an art event held every five years.
The K67, or 'multifunctional unit,' was designed by a Slovenian architect, Sasa J Maechtig.
'The lightweight modular design was revolutionary,' explained Schlaffke. 'It's a milestone in 20th century design. There's even one in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.'
He hopes Maechtig, now 66, will come from Ljubljana and visit Weimar in June to see the art kiosk.
The Weimar booth hails from Szczecin, Poland, where it was in use from 1973, most recently as a key-cutting shop.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur