Over the past three weeks, art and fashion enthusiasts from Düsseldorf have had the chance to witness a unique marriage between retail design and contemporary art. Two windows of the luxury department store Breuninger were transformed by Austrian installation artist Peter Kogler and then taken over by performers Linnéa Schwarz and Sara Chaparro. Kogler is known for his mind-bending installations that use lines and pipes to mimic the overwhelming confusion created by the technologically enhanced and network-structured aspects of modern life. Kogler was one of the first creatives to make art using his computer in the mid-80s, and has since used technologies such as animations and digital sound elements to render his artworks more immersive. From Austrian train stations to the entrance hall of Documenta, Kogler has worked with many different surroundings. “I find it interesting to do installations in different environments and to translate these installations for different spaces”, he says. For his Breuninger window, Kogler mirrored the concave and convex shapes of the building in the seemingly space-altering grid structure that covered the floor and the walls of the temporary exhibition space.
Within these surroundings, Linnéa Schwarz and Sara Chaparro took on the roles of display dummies come to life. Using the hashtag #youbiquitous, both of them posted photos, drawings, videos and collages on social media while onlookers could witness their creation in real-time. While Schwarz took on a more active role, snapping photos of her audience and communicating with it via Twitter, Chaparro decided to barely move at all, creating drawings of the people and objects around her by using an eye-tracking system. “The artworks overlap and interact with each other”, Kogler describes the synergy between their respective works. His installation reflects the glass window through which Linnéa Schwarz took photos of the bypassing shoppers, adding an interesting second layer to the snapshots, and was later covered in printouts of the photos taken during the project. Now that the project is over, the artist’s full experience can be relived online, complete with shots of Sara Chaparro getting a tailored suit in the men’s section, Linnéa Schwarz being glammed up in the cosmetics section and the two performers exploring the department store by themselves on a Sunday afternoon.
Those who missed out on the chance of seeing Kogler’s storefront design still have the chance to be immersed in one of his installations. K21, Düsseldorf’s museum for art from the 21st Century which cooperated with Breuninger for the realisation of the store window, just opened a new exhibition room created by the artist.