Kunsthaus Schuster

Title: House/Haus

Location: Kunsthaus Schuster, Gelnhausen, Germany

Link to Site: Kunsthaus Schuster

Materials: Aluminum, Rubber, PVC Tubing, Filters, Clamps, Etc. & Photographic Paper

Dimensions: Variable to dimensions of each room

Structure Built: 1700s

Sponser: Veritas GmbH

Date: May 8 - September 25, 1999

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The Artist

Jack Sal works in Gelnhausen with a material, an industrial product, that has never been associated with art. Although it has a great deal to do with the place itself, it has been dissociated from its normal function and "liberated", so to speak, into new meaning. In course of installation work it became clear - to the astonishment of the specialists on the staff of the manufacturer Veritas who mounted the pipes and rubber elements on the wall according to the artist's instructions - that the preshaped parts could be joined in a completely different way. Suddenly, they "function" in an entirely different way than they ordinarily would in factory production.

The same degree of precision and sensitivity to detail required in the factory were needed here as well. The idea was to use this industrial product selected by Jack Sal as the material for his art - a very technical-looking yet equally fascinating material - to create a spatial system that would also serve aesthetic objectives in its new, modified context. It was to alter the space in which viewers moved about, to awaken their curiosity and to provide visual stimulation for further thought by virtue of its diverse thematic references.

Although the artist sought to design each room in a precise and fitting way, and although there was a logical reason for every aspect of what was done and why, the entire installation ultimately fulfils no technical or traditional utilitarian purpose. And that is where the surprise begins - the art. Normally, everything in our lives is dedicated to a purpose and is more or less useful. We drive from point A to point B, for example, for a specific reason. In everything we do, we follow the rules of "purpose" and necessity, or at least we usually think we are doing so.

Artists, however, discover and occupy places beyond the pale of usefulness, geographical locations as well as places and spaces in the mind. And these spaces, the ones in the mind, are the largest; they can be virtually limitless if we allow them to be. We often hear it said that art has reached its limits, that there is nothing new left to discover, that every "style" has been explored, every possible material employed, every form exhausted, every taboo broken, that artists have no choice but to reproduce what has already been done or to bow to the supposed interests of the art market.

As already suggested above, Jack Sal is of another mind. The most important aspect of his art is deliberate thought, the development of logical concepts. He is an artist who also writes very well and offers succinct and revealing statements about his work. Because his art always unfolds in context and at many different levels - its relationships to place, material, type of installation and specific viewers and the diverse interrelationships linking all of these levels are combined - his work covers a broad yet highly individualised field.

Ingrid Pfeiffer, Curator, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany

living space/expanse