RITZWIRTH / anderswar
The Biel duo RITZWIRTH has a unique position in the Swiss art scene. Katia Ritz (*1973, CH) as an architect and Florian Hauswirth (*1976, CH) as an industrial designer not only realise architectural projects, but have also been working together on installations since 2009. Central to their work are interventions that are directly related to their surroundings and are conceived very situationally and differently in each case. In their first large solo exhibition, they present past projects as well as a monumental installation that reinterprets the functions of the Kunsthaus building.
Already known for architectural commissions and interventions in public spaces, RITZWIRTH contextualise the surroundings and architectural characteristics of Kunsthaus Pasquart in order to transform them. With concrete casts that they make in public open spaces in the city, the transience of such places is focused on as a stimulus for joint, forward-looking planning. The furniture made of red and white construction barrier panels transports the urban space – also through Biel’s coat of arms colours – into the Kunsthaus. In the Salle Poma, the hermetic structure and cool aesthetics of the White Cube are broken up with a new monumental installation. Inspired by the current exceptional situation with Covid-19, the interior and exterior are to be experienced in a new way and the function of the Kunsthaus building is to be questioned. While three periscopes function like optical conduits to the outside, channels are parasitically attached to the building, allowing a view to the outside and partly also vice versa into the building. RITZWIRTH’s previous experimentation with the different scales of objects, buildings and cities is radically expanded here: they transfer the prototype of an object onto a building and into the city. RITZWIRTH wants us to become «tourists in our own everyday life», whereby other perspectives are opened up and new things – detached from life – are made possible. (Felicity Lunn)
"Periscopes penetrate the space’s outer skin, grasp the surrounding context, and contaminate space with a consciously suppressed external presence. The flawless architecture, from which all traces of prosaic technical installations have been erased, is provoked by the aesthetic of the object. In the Poma Hall, floor, walls and ceiling meld in a palette of grey tones and into which six abstract slits (without seams or edges) allow us to distinguish “up” from “down”. Three pipes protrude from these openings and thus disturb the silent volume. The projecting character of the periscope object is intrinsic to it and thus presented as an artifice. The best-known reference is probably Le Corbusier’s Beistegui penthouse. The latter goes even further, as he uses the device as a camera obscura for which the surrounding space was purposely created. The opposite approach would be the casa girasole designed by engineer Angelo Invernizzi, where the house itself becomes the periscope. In this way, the architecture is transformed into an appliance or machine. Perhaps this is the ultimate dream of an imaginary oeuvre devised by an architect and an industrial designer?“ (Victoria Easton)