KESSELHAUS (Boiler House)

David Claerbout
September 11, 2016 - May 28, 2017


David Claerbout will show his work Olympia (The Real-Time Disintegration into Ruins of the Berlin Olympic Stadium over the Course of a Thousand Years) in the imposing 20-metre-high Boiler House of the KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art. This will continue the exhibition series inaugurated by Roman Signer’s Kitfox Experimental: once a year, the KINDL invites an artist to realise a single work for this unique space.

Video installations of suggestive slowness are characteristic of the work of the Belgian artist David Claerbout (born in 1969). Through his precise compositions, the flow of time becomes almost physically tangible. The artist often draws his material from reconstructed or computer-generated images, historical photographs, or his own film footage, which he weaves together into multilayered works.

With Olympia, which was completed this year, Claerbout now aims at a dimension that far exceeds the human ability to imagine time: the real-time projection is meant to last 1,000 years and thus radically surpasses our own experience of the world. Its point of departure is the Berlin Olympic Stadium—the site of the 1936 Olympics—which the artist painstakingly digitally reconstructed to show its disintegration over the next 1,000 years. The work makes reference to the “Thousand-Year Reich”—a concept that was adapted above all by the Nazis—and the crude ideas of the architect Albert Speer. In his “theory of ruin value”, Speer called for architecture to be designed with its appearance in 1,000 years in mind, with the Colosseum in Rome as his explicit example.

Beyond these references, however, David Claerbout’s project Olympia is primarily to be understood as a reflection on time and perception. The slow disintegration of architecture does not fit within our time horizon. In real time, this process will be shown on a monumental screen in the Boiler House at the KINDL. The grass slowly begins to grow, and lichens and other plants run wild. The influence of the actual weather plays a crucial role in the work: real-time weather information is constantly integrated into the ongoing disintegration of Claerbout’s digitally rendered stadium. In order to allow visitors to experience the effects of various seasons, times of day, and weather conditions, Olympia will be on view free of charge at the KINDL for approximately nine months.

On October 22, 2016, the KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art will open the entire former brewery building.


Roman Signer
Kitox Experimental (site-specific installation)
September 14, 2014 – June 28, 2015

Kitfox Experimental is the title of the work that Roman Signer has especially created for the massive cube-shaped Boiler House at KINDL. “Kitfox Experimental” stands for a particular type of aircraft, which the artist uses in his installation. In the publication that accompanies the opening of the show, Roman Signer gives a brief description of his work: “An airplane hangs about four meters above the ground with its nose pointing downward – a lightweight aircraft. Then there are powerful fans on the walls that cause the plane to move, since it is hanging from a joint that can be turned very easily. And so the wind is supposed to cause the airplane to turn, as if it were spinning in a nosedive as it plummeted downward.” Concrete physical experience is an essential component of Roman Signer’s work. The characteristic background noise of the two fans and the non-stop spinning plane lead to a kind of spatial suction that is impossible to resist – both meditative and discomforting, overwhelming and threatening.

Roman Signer’s concept of sculpture includes process and change. His very complex and diverse work again and again takes a look at notions of time, at the transformation of materials, and at the visualization of natural forces. Signer’s artistic oeuvre expands traditional forms of sculpture, and many of his works consider very existential issues with a complete lack of pathos.

Roman Signer, born in 1938 in Appenzell, lives in St. Gallen. His work has been shown in many international solo and group exhibitions.
More information about Roman Signer. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in cooperation with Kunstmuseum St. Gallen published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König. This publication is designed as a reader, a first collection of texts written at different times by several authors on a variety of themes relating to Signer’s work. Roman Signer, edited by Konrad Bitterli & Andreas Fiedler. St. Gallen/Berlin 2014. Texts by Konrad Bitterli, Andreas Fiedler, Alois Hengartner, Gerhard Mack, Roland Wäspe, Max Wechsler, Harald Welzer, Rachel Withers & Nadia Veronese. Cologne 2014. Text in Geman and English. 
ISBN 978-3-86335-632-3



KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art
Am Sudhaus 2, 12053 Berlin