Boris Rebetez – Columnist

Boris Rebetez names his solo exhibition at the Kunsthaus Baselland, and this publication, Columnist. It is no coincidence that even the title sends the reader on a train of thought through both exhibition and catalogue. Is it not the columnist who commentates on current affairs in periodicals, newspapers and magazines, gives his opinion on these and thus allows the reader a view through a different lens? Rebetez enables this somewhat differing view of reality by virtue of his interventions.

Making visible what is already present? At first this may sound odd. For why would one draw out something that is already there, which has perhaps inscribed itself in the space as history and memory? With his sculptural interventions Boris Rebetez activates spaces – exterior and interior – and thus makes something become perceptible or makes the experience of it possible. His interventions, usually architectural installations, are rather inconspicuous. They follow the logic of the space. He does not occupy space, but rather clarifies, makes room, accentuates and emphasises. Rebetez deals with what is given and what is hidden in layers and, with his interventions, constitutes a new way of reading the space.

In the Kunsthaus Baselland he is building two additional columns into the support system of the upper galleries, which could have a structural use in their locations. If one thinks back to the title, Columnist, one could read it associatively, relating it to the term column. Accordingly, a Columnist is someone who deals with columns. More than 80 black and white photographs will be projected onto one of these columns, giving detailed insights into an instance of palatial architecture from the 19th century. The viewer does not find out where this is, or which building is dealt with exactly. Instead it gives an insight into a particular type of architecture and a particular, long past, time. Akin to a narrative, though without beginning and end, the viewer is gradually led into the recollections or, in other words, into the archive and memory of a location from a specific time. Layer after layer, he can lose himself within it, be transported to another time and another place, while he sits amid the Kunsthaus’ real, yet also fake, columns. Is this not therefore about the relationship of a photograph that evokes a place that could perhaps not exist at all any more at the moment it is looked at, a photograph that only commemorates that place and the real elements that can be experienced in the actual space? With his investigations of space Rebetez always allows the viewer to be a participant. With his contribution to the Kunsthaus Baselland he offers, like the columnist, a specific commentary that relates also to the place and the architecture of the institution. How much time has inscribed itself here, how much history? How can the architecture of the building be understood and comprehended; what was built later, sealed up, exposed, opened and closed? Boris Rebetez makes a singular view behind the scenes, the beams and columns of the Kunsthaus possible and in so doing tells us new, strange stories.

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