House-sized boxes encase sculptures in wasteland exhibition

Skulptourenschau is an unusual art exhibition in Zurich involving an anonymous sculptor and a collection of house-sized wooden boxes, and it's all sitting on a patch of wasteland by the railway.

This content was published on May 15, 2000 minutes

The Skulptourenschau is located in Zurich's old industrial district, which is fast becoming the new cultural heartland of the city. With the opening of the Kunsthaus' new premises in the area, cafés, bars and restaurants have sprung up in this once dowdy part of the city.

The boxes themselves are sited on a typical urban location: waste ground close to the railway lines, tram tracks and motorway fly-overs of Escher-Wyss-Platz.

"This site is a circus site, created by the city to host circuses, gypsies, or theatre," the exhibition's producer, Willy Hirzil, told swissinfo.

"You don't go up any stairs, there's no limit here. Maybe you can even hear the birds singing. You're not isolated like in art buildings," he added.

The exhibition comprises ten wooden boxes the size of small houses. As the visitor enters the darkened doorways, the sights and smells of the city are left behind. Each box houses a sculpture or installation, but the space within the box seems to be as important as the art itself.

The slope of the walls and the lighting are as much part of the experience as the Egyptian-style god or goddess, or the more abstract representations of bombs and primitive masks on display.

The anonymous artist behind the Skulptourenschau previously exhibited his works at the Kunsthaus, Zurich's museum of fine arts, in 1985. In this current exhibition he's going by the name of HP Weberhans.

"We have almost no personal information about the artist here because he refuses to talk about himself," said Hirzil.

All that is known about him is that he is nearly 60 years old, and believes that if people knew who he was it would compromise his artistic freedom.

The Skulptourenschau in Zurich runs until the end of May.

by Tom O'Brien

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