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Dear to me:

20 years of Kunsthaus Bregenz

Kunsthaus Bregenz is celebrating its 20th birthday. And who better to hold an anniversary exhibition than the art museum’s architect Peter Zumthor?

Date: 11 October 2017

In the 20 years since its birth, Kunsthaus Bregenz (“KUB” for short) has become an essential destination on any visit to the capital of Vorarlberg. It is just as much a part of Bregenz as the Festival and Lake Constance. That’s why the two decades of the KUB’s existence are being duly celebrated. The summer of the anniversary year got off to an impressive start with Adrián Villar Rojas presenting “The Theater of Disappearance”. In a four-part cycle, he transformed the KUB into a journey through the history of human culture, from its beginnings through to a post-apocalyptic scenario. The artist’s work was evidently inspired by three famous masterpieces: Piero della Francesca’s Madonna del Parto, Picasso’s Guernica and Michelangelo’s David.

KUB Kunsthaus Bregenz (c) Kunsthaus Bregenz-Markus Tretter
KUB - Adrián Villar Rojas, The Theater of Disappearance (c) Adrián Villar Rojas, Kunsthaus Bregenz
Zumthor returns

From 13th May to 27th August, Rojas staged what was perhaps his most successful and comprehensive exhibition about how we perceive space. Then, on 16th September, it was noone other than Peter Zumthor’s turn to stamp his mark on the KUB’s rooms. The Swiss architect had, of course, designed the Kunsthaus itself 20 years ago. His façade made of glass, steel and concrete immediately catches the eye in the cityscape of Bregenz. In 1998, Zumthor won the prestigious “Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture” for his work on the Kunsthaus, making it one of the world’s most important museum buildings in the field of contemporary architecture.

A love letter to the KUB

Under the title Dear to Me, Zumthor is not holding an exhibition in the conventional sense. Instead, he has turned the rooms of “his” Kunsthaus into boxes that demonstrate his artistic preferences and inspirations on the basis of thoughts, visuals and sound. Only the first floor is allowed to remain almost entirely empty – as this is where the building itself, with its skylight ceiling, comes into its own. With Zumthor’s exhibition, the wheel has turned full circle in the museum’s anniversary year.

KUB - Ausstellung Dear To Me 2017 - 2. OG (c) Peter Zumthor-Kunsthaus Bregenz
Ausstellungsansicht 3. OG - Foto Markus Tretter (c) Peter Zumthor & Partner, Kunsthaus Bregenz
An exhibition with a difference

Not just something for fans of art and architecture: the KUB will also host more than 160 live events during the exhibition period. As part of Zumthor’s concept, readings are being held, films are being shown, musicians are performing, and plants are even being grown. There is a bar area on the ground floor, a composition by Olga Neuwirth can be heard on the first floor, a library has been created on the second floor, and there is a garden in the attic where tea is served. “All genres of art – except dance – are therefore represented,” says Peter Zumthor in the official announcement of the exhibition. “We’ll include that next time.” It remains to be seen what else the architect has in store for his building’s next anniversaries.

If this has piqued your interest, you still have until 7th January to check out the Dear to Me exhibition at the Kunsthaus in Bregenz.


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