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Kesselhaus Josephsohn
Galerie Felix Lehner AG
Kesselhaus Josephsohn
Galerie Felix Lehner AG

Peter Märkli and Hans Josephsohn at the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel

September 06, 2014 to October 19, 2014

In conjunction with the thirty-year anniversary of the Architecture Museum in Basel, the current director Hubertus Adam invited his predecessor Ulrike Jehle-Schulte Strathaus to curate an exhibition. In doing so, she concentrated to two positions that she had already previously presented: on the one hand, the Basel architecture office Diener & Diener and, on the other, the Zurich architect Peter Märkli, for whom she organized an exhibition in 2000. What both architecture offices have in common is the fact that they regularly work with artists in creating their buildings. While in the case of Diener & Diener, this cooperation is project-related, in the case of Märkli, it is his ongoing engagement with the work of Hans Josephsohn, which leads again and again to the integration of works by Josephsohn in his buildings.



The exhibition at the Architecture Museum presents a concrete project by Diener & Diener in cooperation with Josef Felix Müller: in 2006, Diener & Diener won the competition for an extension for the Stadtmuseum Aarau in cooperation with the architecture historian and architect Martin Steinmann. In the course of the planning process, it became clear that a 120-year-old redwood tree in the garden of the museum would have to be felled to build the extension. The decision was consequently made to use the resulting wood in the form of 95 x 200-cm-large panels as the starting point for an artistic work. Diener & Diener asked the artist Josef Felix Müller to take on the project, and he then worked on the panels with a power saw. In a total of 134 wooden panels of equal size, he carved images based on randomly selected passersby. Polyurethane was then poured into the wooden panels. The polyurethane negatives then served as the casting molds for the concrete reliefs that were later attached to the façade of the extension. Sixty-six of the wooden panels currently hang in two rows on top of each other on the walls of the first hall of the Architecture Museum. Material documenting Diener & Diener’s cooperation with Josef Felix Müller as well as material about Märkli and Josephsohn is presented in a smaller side room. 



One standing figure by Hans Josephsohn from the early nineteen-fifties, exhibited in a manner similar to how works by Josephsohn were presented at the Architecture Biennale in Venice two years ago, marks the transition to the second larger hall of the Architecture Museum. On the left wall of the second hall follow three further works by Josephsohn—one relief each from the years 1950/51, 1977, and 1999. Architecture drawings by Peter Märkli are presented in groups on the opposite side of the second hall as well as in the third hall. Works by Josephsohn are signified on some of the drawings. Märkli has regularly been integrating already cast works by Josephsohn within his buildings since the nineteen-seventies, whereby he already takes them into consideration in the design phase and orients his planning toward the art. The most well known example is the Museum La Congiunta, which Märkli erected for works by Josephsohn in 1992. Since then, around thirty reliefs and three half-figures have been on exhibit there. Märkli’s drawings, which he needs for the process of designing buildings, seem sketchy. Yet despite their sketchiness, the extent to which Josephsohn’s works—in particular the reliefs—have influenced the composition of Märkli’s drawings is apparent.



At 7 pm on Thursday, October 2 in the Architecture Museum, there will be a podium discussion with Roger Diener, Peter Märkli, Josef Felix Müller, and Adam Szymczyk, and moderated by Ulrike Jehle-Schulte Strathaus.

Opening: Friday, September 5, 7 pm