Trained as an architect, the Croatian-born artist Dora Budor regards buildings and institutions as tectonic, infra-structural, and gendered systems. Against the aesthetic pursuit of making buildings, she commits to a politics of selectively taking them apart. In Continent, Budor introduces a crisis to Peter Zumthor’s building, probing its physical intactness through a series of interventions that foreground concealed operations, force external structures inwards, and make the invisible resonant.
One meter from Kunsthaus Bregenz’s northeastern facade, a manhole leads to an underground collector duct that encircles the foundations of the entire building. Its so-called diaphragm walls extend vertically into the soil, mirroring the height of the above-ground structure. Their function is to prevent the collapse of surrounding buildings and control the seepage of groundwater from the nearby Pfänder mountain and Lake Constance.
On the first of KUB’s three floors, Budor confines the space upon itself. Latex casts of the underground diaphragm walls stand against the ones of the gallery, closing the entrances. Conservation latex has skinned the sub-terranean surface, removing years of sediment and deposits. The tripartite work Kollektorgang (I – XIV), (XV – XXIV), (XXV – XXIX), all 2021, measures 29 meters in total – mirroring the width and length of the excavation pit that hosts the foundations.
In a continuation of recent works conceived metabolically, the institution digests its own substratum. The materials, from which the works on display were produced, originate from the site of exhibition (Bregenz) or production (Berlin): shredded office paperwork forming the structural mass of Kollektorgang, coffee waste from the KUB Café Bar that is ossified into Pucks (bagarreurs), 2021, or a rental bicycle in Something To Remind Me, 2021. They solidify, melt, or harden into different forms and meanings, perversely following the cannibalistic inclination of capital assuring its future. In the space, they seek to subvert and decenter the usual hierarchy of seeing, furnishing a different mode of attention and time.
The building is ventilated through the twenty-eight kilometers of conduits cast into the walls. Termites, 2022, are remote controlled sex toys vibrating within the air ducts. The air carries their reverberations through the thin slits around the perimeter of the space into the gallery. Circulation is made a medium in its most sublimated form, the air we inhale.
March 19 – June 26, 2022
Photo: Markus Tretter
Courtesy of the artist
© Dora Budor, Kunsthaus Bregenz