A wallpaper-like network of computer-generated tubular forms on the walls: Peter Kogler‘s design of the intermediate level of the Karlsplatz subway station aims at a virtual extension of the existing spatial structure. The installation seems to dissolve the boundaries of architecture and with its dynamically uptight structures to allude to the space’s transfer function for the passers-by.
Tubular forms are a central motif of the artist’s general oeuvre. Their network-like ramifications design an artificial and emblematic world which is at the same time marked by illusionary appearances. In the process, Kogler repeatedly refers to the omnipresent mediatization and technologization through computer networks and data streams, which contribute to and change our experience of time and space. In the pull of digitalized information flows that are always and everywhere available, traditional attitudes of space and time as rigid parameters of unambiguous continuity are evaporating and liquefying.
Not only does Kogler thematize this linking of reality and fiction, of analog and digital realities. His work motifs and their multi-variant utilization also suggest the synchronicity of the organic and technoid as well as of all the natural and artificial. Thus it is no coincidence that the geometrical tube forms are also reminiscent of abstracted organic capillary systems or the inner construction of crystals.
The installation consists of 193 black-and-white, silk-screened glass elements in a general area of 420 m2. The computer-generated tube motif conveys a coherent spatial experience, while — due to patterns and construction conditions — each of the wall elements constitutes a unique copy.
With its passageways, escalators, tracks and tunnels subway stations and their traffic system form a complex web of spatial and movement sluices for mobility and constant transfer. In the spatial context of this subterranean, urban traffic structure, which remains hidden from view from outside or above, Kogler’s vivid media spatial staging acquires the role of a mirrorimage: it draws the view behind and underneath the visible surface of things by ascribing visible and symbolic images to the immaterial energy streams in hidden networks.
Text: Rainer Fuchs
subway station Karlsplatz, U1-U2 intermediate level, 1040 Vienna
*1959 in Innsbruck (AT), lives and works in Vienna