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The Marta Herford Is Now a Labyrinth

The exhibition Welcome to the Labyrinth is a site-specific obstacle course that transforms the Gehry Galleries at the German institution

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Text by Rab Messina

Think of the latest exhibition at the Marta Herford as a very wicked, very emotional playground for adults. With Welcome to the Labyrinth, the German institution uses art to deceive visitors into believing that the laws of physics no longer apply, that the infinite is achievable and that blood is a solid thread.

To do so, the museum invited seven guest artists to create a series of site-specific obstacle courses inspired in the symbolism of that most mischievous of pathways.

There’s the emotional. Anne Hardy’s Fieldwork, for example, is a wooden structure that stands inside the Marta Dome and speak of a past that can no longer be reconstructed. Song Dong’s Everywhere is a reference to the Mongolian yurt and its nomadic connotations, which, combined with materials collected from demolition sites in Beijing, speaking of the impermanence of one’s own space.

There’s the physical. Christian Odzuck choreographed his own version of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy inside his Nieteum, while Peter Kogler’s untitled installation uses computer-generated art to set the Gehry Gallery in motion. Royden Rabinowitch uses a floor sculpture titled Stan and Ollie to shift our walking perspectives, featuring folded steel sheets that crowd together and burst apart.

And then there’s the eerie, that which defies classifications. Chiharu Shiota’s Secret Passage gets a river of blood-red threads that look like human arteries to weave five doors into a cocoon, leading the curious into different worlds.

As a museum visitor, one sometimes complains about cultural institutions being labyrinthine… but in this case, it’s most definitely a compliment.

Welcome to the Labyrinth is on display until September 23

marta herford
Current and cover image: PETER KOGLER
marta herford
marta herford
marta herford
Stan and Ollie

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