The ramp of Empfangshalle, Munich, 1999
Trailer on DVD “beetween private and public”
Pictures shall be our topic; however, they are neither the conventional kind – for example, ones that a person could carry into a museum – nor the kind that exist only in our minds and that can merely be written down as an idea. Böhm and Gruber, whom we shall henceforth refer to as Empfangshalle, replace the so-called autonomous art object with intervention in existing infrastructures. In this context, objects, furniture and so on can be used, but always in a context that also represents a part of the works. This can mean creating new connections by linking objects with visitors; or by smuggling closed systems into other infrastructures (Tupperware party and art gallery – we bring them together). Empfangshalle found their inspiration literally right outside their door. The suburban train that went directly past became one of the first objects that they worked on. It wasn’t the train, the cars, the rolling material that they were interested in, but the structure: the train as an arrangement of complete, random strangers who are linked to each other only by the place they happen to be and the situation they are in, which includes occasionally looking out the window as they move from point A to point B. One should imagine this situation from the perspective of the studio, as trains constantly go past and one is observed by the passengers for a fraction of a second. The trains delivered a potential audience to the door for free. Empfangshalle took the audience seriously, that is, saw it as an audience, by staging performances on the ramp that lasted only a few seconds. The project “3 sec.”, named for the audience’s interval of perception, took shape in this way. Such a project is a sculpture, for it has all the elements of sculpture: the ramp as a pedestal, the protagonists and their actions as content and form, and finally an infrastructure that includes an audience. This infrastructure is not added later, as in a gallery or museum, but is an integral part.