World history has been written twice in Aspern — a former independent municipality and today part of the city of Vienna: in 1809 Napoleon’s dreams of a great power suffered their first defeat on the battlefield there, and in 1912 "Aspern Airfield" opened which was then Europes largest commercial airport. The artist Stephan Huber remembers these two events with two 60-square-meter maps on the front of the platforms and links them with the history of Vienna in the early 19th and 20th centuries. In contrast to classical cartography, Stephan Huber’s maps contain aesthetic and sensory disruptions, a mixture of historical accuracy and subjective interpretation, time parity and time differences, as well as many surprisingly surreal changes: seriousness and irony alternate, nonsense and understanding crossfertilize each other, local events and great moments in human history are treated equally.
Stephan Huber’s material is American military maps, which he has reassembled in a collage-like way. On closer observation, however, one also sees other pictorial patterns, such as illustrations from children’s books, documentary photos or diagrams from medical lexicons. Huber’s maps are covered with a multitude of texts, mostly poetic descriptions, often also political, philosophical or literary terms. Selected people from history appear in form of “life-lines”, with their dates of birth and death on the glass surfaces of the above-ground subway station, which also serve as protection against bird strikes.
With this artwork the artist presents his personal view of the objectivity of cartography: the “Vienna Maps” contain a multitude of information that repeatedly offer interested observers something new to discover. As a result, a complex, living picture in public space emerges, which alongside all its aesthetic qualities involves observers in a discourse about “their” city.
Aspern Nord, 1220 Wien, Österreich
*1952 in Lindenberg im Allgäu (DE), lives and works in Munich (DE) and Ostallgäu (DE).
This project was selected as a winner's project in the course of an artistic competition. For more information please follow this link:
Aspern AffairsStephan Huber
Since October 5, 2013
2 maps, each 1000 x 600 cm
photographic paper behind glass
“lifelines” on two station windows, various sizes, stove-enamel on glass