25. May 2009
OK I HÖHENRAUSCH
Art on the Rooftops of Linz
A Project for LINZ 2009 European Capital of Culture
Exhibition: 29 May to 31 October 2009
Curators: Paolo Bianchi & Martin Sturm
Exhibition Architecture: Atelier Bow-Wow, Tokyo (in collaboration
with Riepl Riepl Architects, Linz)
The art exhibition OK | HÖHENRAUSCH (Thrill
of the Heights) entices visitors up to and over the roofs of Linz.
It shows art between the sky and the city, offering an opportunity
for a unique experience of Linz. For 150 days it is possible to experience
OK | HÖHENRAUSCH, then the heavens above Linz will be closed
In a joint effort by OK, Linz09, the City
of Linz, the Federal Province of Upper Austria, and the business partner,
Raiffeisen Landesbank OÖ, an art project has been created, such
as the city has never seen before: an exhibition trail, starting at
the OK Square, leads from OK over the parking garage City Parkhaus
to the roof of the Passage City Center, back to the OK, over a new
bridge through the previously unknown rooftop landscape of the Ursulinenhof.
After a tour of about 1.5 km over stairs, walkways, bridges, lookout
points, flat roofs and attics, visitors find themselves on the street
Extensive construction work is necessary to implement this project:
structural analysis certification, construction tenders and permit
procedures presented the OK with challenges, which were dealt with
together with the authorities of the city of Linz.
A bridge connects the OK with the Ursulinenhof, thus making accessible
the new art collection of the Federal Province of Upper Austria. The
connection will remain open even after Höhenrausch/Thrill of
the Heights, thus ensuring that the project will have a lasting impact.
Raiffeisen Landesbank OÖ is actively engaged not only as one
of the main partners of Linz09, but also in constructive co-operation
with the partner agencies Real Treuhand and the Passage City Center.
This has made it possible to realize a project that has and will have
an impact far beyond Linz.
Architects and Execution
The idea of routing a path between OK, the roof of Passage and the
Ursulinenhof was developed by the OK together with Riepl Riepl Architects.
The Riepl office is also the Upper Austrian "sparring partner"
for the Japanese team of architects and was entrusted with the planning
and local construction supervision. The wooden bridge was built by
the Mühlviertel company Gebrüder Resch.
Those who undertake this ascent are transformed
into the figure of the rooftop wanderer, exploring Linz from an unfamiliar
perspective across seven stations: 1) Stairway to Heaven, 2) Luna
Park, 3) Roof Bridge, 4) Linz09 Lounge, 5) Art Lab (working title),
6) Herbal Garden, 7) A-Loft.
The landscape of the course leads over bridges and stairs –
from house to house, from roof to roof. The path changes with the
constant up and down. Spaces are alternately crossed on the inside
and on the outside. Visitors leave the surface of the familiar. In
the end they land on the ground of reality, in the streets of Linz.
1. Stairway to Heaven
The seemingly endless stairway to heaven starts in the OK. To climb
it, you have to start far below. The path to the peak of art, to the
“thrill of the heights” leads upwards step by step. And
to arrive at the top, you have to want to “climb higher”.
Most religions imagine the path to paradise as an upward climb. Many
of them depict this climb with the help of a ladder. The profane ladder
becomes a medium for imagining the unimaginable. In symbolic perception,
the endless stretch is compressed into a small climbing expedition.
The stairway to heaven made here of wood links several buildings together
on the roof through steps and passageways. Several branches of the
path appear to be an overhang of the building. What starts as a stairway
to heaven evolves like the roots of a tree proliferating horizontally
across the roofs. (Atelier Bow-Wow).
Georg LindORFER AT
In Lindorfer’s scenarios visitors can put their heads through
a hole in a painted billboard and have their fairy market picture
taken. The people portrayed slip into the role of a gigantic figure
of a child with a balloon that floats away of the OK Square in an
animation on the back side of the board.
Leonid Tishkov RU
Private Moon, 2009
The moon is revered in many cultures as a goddess. With the crescent
moon that has fallen from the sky, Tishkov commences a visual poem
about the feminine. In Linz the moon has found a temporary home in
the chapel and can be borrowed. Wherever this heavenly body appears
in Linz as a guest, it overcomes the loneliness of city people. And
gathers a crowd of viewers.
Atelier Bow-Wow JP
in cooperation with Riepl Riepl Architekten
Linz Super Branch, 2009
The stairway to heaven by Atelier Bow-Wow serves as a bridge into
a different land. Stepping onto it, you leave everything else behind:
the daily rat-race, job stress and anxiety. It is the ideal aid to
ascend to the levels of the Luna Park, leading to where the sky is
"filled with violins".
2. Luna Park
Arriving on the roof, the visitors find themselves in a Luna Park
– a place of sensations, a world of sensual experience.
Pierre Bismuth Fr/BE
Respect the Dead, 2001–2009
Bismuth shows the first few minutes from films like "Dirty Harry",
"Vertigo" or "Highlander". As soon as an actor
dies in one of these films, the film ends abruptly and the credits
follow. The radical cut turns initially irrelevant figures into main
characters, calling for respect for their sudden death. For Hoehenrausch
above the roofs of Linz, Bismuth has chosen a series of films in which
the action takes place specifically on roofs, balconies or parking
Ricardo Jacinto PT
Jacinto's bunch of balloons reduces body weight by 35 kg and results
in limiting balance. This work deals with the sense of balance in
the inner ear, the irritation of which induces the illness "labyrinthitis",
but which also triggers the kick of the spinal column machines found
in theme parks.
Shaun Gladwell AU
Gladwell filmed Og D’Souza, riding his skateboard without the
use of his legs in a building designed by Oscar Niemeyer for the São
Paulo Biennale. The work shows Og defying gravity as he skatebaords
upside down within the spatious building. Gladwell also documents
a skateboard ride in a parkingtower .in the small town of New Plymouth,
New Zealand. Due to the fact that the parking tower is near the ocean
and a volcano called ‘Taranaki’, Gladwell has described
it as the most beautiful parking garage in the world.
Brigitte Felderer AT
Felderer's picture track assembles posters, headlines, film images
and art from the 18th century up to 2000. It is not the aristocrats
floating away into the sky, but clever citizens, audacious women,
ingenious illusionists, courageous artists and romantic outsiders.
And those who don't fly along, crash.
Maider López ES
High Wheel, 2009
A ride on the 26-meter high ferris wheel allows a view of the city
from a dizzying height. The new coat of paint applied by López
makes the landmark of the Capital of Culture vanish on a monitor.
Due to digital editing the monumental red construction vanishes in
a video, and all that remains are the revolving green gondolas that
seem to float above the city as though moved by a magical hand.
Andreas Strauss AT
90° Kiosk, 2007/2009
Strauss' upside-down construction vehicle is one of his typical multi-function
tools, which he removes from the original context and re-dedicates
with functional architectonic interventions. It serves as a weather
station, kiosk and hot spot at the same time. The offers vary depending
on the weather: umbrellas if it is raining, sealed drink packages,
like on airplanes, if it is hot, and soap bubbles if it is windy.
A collaboration with Time’s Up and FunkFeuer.
Roman Signer CH
Once a day Signer shoots visitors' messages of greetings right across
with OK Square with a rocket launcher. This event, which lasts only
a few moments, is amusing and makes us grin at this explosive manner
of communication that lags behind mostly digital communication today.
3. Dach Steg
The path leads across an over 2000 m2 large roof garden with peculiar
vegetation. Walking across the roof bridge provides the greatest overview
with a view of the distance and a panorama. One discovers the urban
silhouette of Linz: unknown buildings, large columns of steam, 30
Linz peaks and the flame from a blast furnace. To allow ample scope
for seeing and hearing, there are vantage points in all directions,
specifically devoted to hearing the city and seeing the city.
Atelier Bow-Wow JP
LLinz super BraNch, 2009
Atelier Bow-Wow calls its large sculpture "Linz Super Branch".
The branch idea applies to the modular construction, but is also meant
literally. What starts as a stairway to heaven now proliferates horizontally
across the roof like the roots and boughs of a tree – with branches
above the abyss.
Werner Pfeffer AT
Pfeffer sets up vantage points and panorama boards and tells of city
people, like the organist, the Linzer Torte baker, or skaters. In
a southward direction he points toward Trieste and the voestalpine
blast furnace workers. At the "audio points" we hear the
sounds of trams and church bells.
Shih-Yung Ku Taiwan
Bubble Man, 2006
A life-sized figure is stuck to a helium balloon with a diameter of
4 meters, floating and bobbing high above, depending on how the wind
blows. Ku's balloon man recalls that among all the great inventions
of humankind – from the wheel to the printing press and the
sailing ship to the computer – there is hardly another that
changed the world as much as the conquest of the sky and the yearning
for a thrill of the heights. For safety reasons (for him and for us),
the "Bubble Man" is pulled in every evening and raised again
every morning. In this way, he is not only a sign of yearning, but
also a practical signal: whenever he is visible above the city, Höhenrausch/Thrill
of the Heights is open and accessible.
Paul DeMarinis US
Rain Dance, 1998–2009
DeMarini's uses water to make familiar musical melodies audible as
a composition of drops and sound vibrations. The open umbrella becomes
a resonance body for sound worlds made of fine streams of water –
even if the sun is shining.
4. Linz09 Lounge
The bridge leads out onto the open deck of the OK. The Linz09 Lounge
offers relaxation and refreshment. Visitors can send off their “thrill
of the heights” greetings on a rocket track.
5. OK Labor
Artists investigate the "phenomenon of the thrill of the heights".
Above or below, overcoming gravity, flying, falling and climbing.
Studies, trials, investigations and experiments. The "Art Lab"
builds a bridge to our neighbors. It links the OK with the Ursulinenhof
and takes a look at the new art collection.
Martin Music AT
Music in the Sky, 2005/2009
Hanging on 5000 helium filled balloons, Music's ascent to the roof
during the opening was a real thrill of the heights. The artist literally
grants people's wish to float away: fleetingly fleeing, melancholy,
clown-like – and yet a risk is involved too. A video documents
the spectacular flight, the balloons remain as a flying machine and
relict in the exhibition.
IngeR Lise Hansen NO
Hansen shot her film in February 2009 above the roofs of Linz with
an "inverse" perspective. The super-16mm camera placed upside
down was moved centimeter for centimeter from shot to shot. This "stop-motion"
technique imbues weather, light and shadow with an unimagined presence.
Erwin Wurm AT
Wurm’s video shows a couple driving through the center of Vienna
while philosophizing about reality and physics. The longer the drive
lasts, the more physical forces change. At the end the car suddenly
drives up the wall of a building vertically. The couple gets out.
Roman Signer CH
Filme, 1981 - 2006
With his videos and films Signer carries out a balancing act between
absurdity and melancholy. He always starts from sculptural experimental
arrangements and documents each phase of these temporal sculptures
or "occurrences". In this way he investigates elementary
forces and includes time as the fourth dimension and formational element.
Occurrences of explosives and loud noises stimulate the senses. When
a bucket with a video camera crashes in the street from the 20th floor
of a building, then the fall into the void draws the gaze with it.
We are there when the bucket falls.
Leonid Tishkov RU
Sky Roof Experiences, 1999 - 2009
Tishkov's studio is located on the top floor of a 24-story building
in Moscow. He uses the roof as a natural setting for his investigations
and for his "conversation with the sky". In the winter he
climbs up to go skiing, or he uses the creative potential of the wind
at this intersection between earth and sky.
Shih-Yung Ku Taiwan
Lightness, the way to let you lighter, 2000
In Ku's video a man blows up a balloon so big that he vanishes into
space hanging on it. Yet suddenly the dream of flying bursts. And
he crashes with an explosion to the ground. The kaleidoscopic presentation
shows flying up to the sky and crashing as an explosion of color.
Fiona Tan Indonesien/NL
In Tan's photo a person hanging on a bunch of red balloons floats
gently over leafless trees. In the video "Tilt" a small
child has also lost its grounding, floating, sinking and rising in
a parachute belt. And in this physics experiment, it is carried laughing
to the ceiling.
6. Herbal Garden
Seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting a garden of medicinal herbs
on the roof of the former Ursuline convent opens up the senses and
simultaneously creates a natural connection between heaven and earth.
The plants cultivated here have been used since the dawn of time for
healing purposes. Taiwanese artist Mali Wu has set up the garden with
help from the Austrian Mountain Herb Cooperative from the Mühlviertel
Mali Wu Taiwan
Seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting a garden of medicinal herbs
on the roof of the former Ursuline convent opens up the senses. And
at the same time, it creates a natural connection between heaven and
earth, but also a historical link between U-Hof and OK through a convent
garden of the shared grounds. For Wu, gardening becomes a meditation
along the paths of a living apothecary.
Wu’s row of notes provides information on "secret"
knowledge about the medicinal effect of plants. Herbal recipes from
diverse fields of knowledge (literature, cultural history, pharmacy,
traditional Chinese Medicine TCM, and knowledge handed down) are free
to be taken!
The attic loft of the Ursulinenhof from the 17th century appears in
The descent over the back stairs, back into everyday urban life, lets
the visitors see the city with new eyes even at street level.
Serge Spitzer US
Untitled (LINZ), 2008–2009
Pipilotti Rist CH
Open My Glade (Flatten), 2000
In the film a human figure (played by Rist) presses her head, lips
and hands against a window pane. It is unclear whether nearness or
captivity is shown. The manic rubbing at the window of the old Ursuline
Convent is like a final heavenly greeting before descending to earth.
The sky is behind us and we are back in reality again.
Edited by Paolo Bianchi & Martin Sturm for
the OK "Offenes Kulturhaus" Upper Austria, the catalogue
is a "visual reader". It depicts the Höhenrausch/Thrill
of the Heights course and assembles material on the artists and on
the phenomenon of the thrill of the heights itself. The release date
is August 2009. Publisher: Folio Verlag, Vienna/Bozen. Book design:
Stephan Fiedler, Berlin.
Paulo Bianchi, born 1960, is a
freelance exhibition-maker and guest editor of the magazine "Kunstforum
International". He lives in Baden by Zurich
Martin Sturm, born 1957, is director of the OK "Offenes
Kulturhaus" Upper Austria.
Künstlerinnen und Künstler
Atelier Bow-Wow (JPN)
Pierre Bismuth (FR/BE)
Paul DeMarinis (USA)
Inger Lise Hansen (NOR)
Ricardo Jacinto (POR)
Shih-Yung Ku (Taiwan)
Georg Lindorfer (AUT)
Fiona Tan (NED)
Mali Wu (Taiwan)
Maider López (ESP)
Martin Music (AUT)
Werner Pfeffer (AUT)
Pipilotti Rist (SUI)
Roman Signer (SUI)
Andreas Strauss (AUT)
Serge Spitzer (USA)
Leonid Tishkov (RUS)
Erwin Wurm (AUT)
Opening hours: daily 11.a.m. – 10
p.m. closed Thuesdays
+43.732.78 41 78-555, email@example.com
Admission fee: 10,-- / reduced
guided tours (15 persons): 120,--
OK Offenes Kulturhaus OÖ
Director: Martin Sturm
Linz 2009 – Kulturhauptstadt Europas
Director: Martin Heller
OK: Maria Falkinger, Dametzstr.
30, 4020 Linz, T 0732.784178-203;
Linz 2009: Pia Leydolt, Gruberstraße
2, 4020 Linz, Tel: +43.732.2009-37,