December 1, 2012

Transforming Life_Escaping Life

Exhibition booklet not near at hand? Here you find the text linked to this theme.

“I was asleep when I suddenly heard an enormous explosion nearby, as though the building was collapsing”. This is how Mrs Startseva described what she experienced in the dead of night, when one of the people living in their joint apartment shot himself into space straight through the ceiling of his room. He had made an enormously powerful catapult with mattress springs and rubber bands to fling himself to a certain height above the earth where there was a cosmic band of energy at that time to take him further into space. The research into this event carried out by the authorities took a long time. The room was hammered shut by the housing department. Different experts studied the propaganda posters, drawings, calculations and all the other material left in the room in order to exactly reconstruct the plan that was being executed there. Together with her fellow residents, Nikolaev and Golosov, Mrs Startseva gave an official statement. The investigation explained a great deal more about the preparations for this “space flight”. However, no more was ever heard from this lone resident. In Kabakov’s installation, The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment, we see the room which remained behind when this man had flung himself into space and obtained his fervent wish for freedom.
In contrast, Lissitzky designed a space with the aim of improving life. He personally invites us to enter his Proun Space, “The first form, which ‘leads’ those who come from the large hall inside, is diagonally placed and ‘leads’ them to the large horizontal of the back wall and from there to the third wall with verticals. At the exit – Halt! At the bottom there is the square, the basic element of the whole design.”

Van Abbemuseum


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