Monument to the City of Bordeaux

Concept drawing, dated 2006

(The House of Characters)

with Emilia Kabakov

YEAR: 2009

CATALOGUE NUMBER: 183

PROVENANCE

Collection of the City of Bordeaux

NOTES

See CRI, vol. 3, no. 181, pp. 276–279.

See CRI, vol. 2, no. 117, pp. 244–251, (project no. 1 How Can One Change Oneself? project no. 24 Paradise Under the Ceiling, project no. 25 I Sleep in the Garden).

EXHIBITIONS

Place Amélie Raba Léon, Bordeaux, France
Permanent installation (public commission), since October 10, 2009 (there referred to as La maison aux personnages)

CONCEPT OF THE INSTALLATION

In the center of a large open area, a one-story house stands inside a square surrounded on all sides by shrubs. There is a small addition on its northern side that forms a kind of second floor with a metal stairway leading to it from the outside. The overall appearance of the house is exactly like that of all the other houses and buildings surrounding the square— modest, ordinary in their architecture. The only thing that sets it apart is that, for some incomprehensible reason, it turned out to be in the very center of the square.

The whole distinctiveness of the project is in the inhabitants populating these houses. One can peer into the building through large windows and see very clearly how the residents live and what they are doing inside. There are six of them on the first floor and one in the upper addition. These are rather strange but touching personages, each having some sort of passion or at least an enduring pastime in his or her otherwise lonely life. Their interests are discussed in detail in texts arranged on stone plaques near the windows of each of the residents.

Hence, the outside observer can see not only signs of the lives of these people, but can also find out about the history of each of those very lives, and as when reading a book, can compare these lives with their own personal life; perhaps there is some similarity. That is why the house constructed in the center of the square does not differ in any way from the other houses that are just like it surrounding the square.

Arguments reinforcing the idea of the proposed project:

  1. Bordeaux—city of great French writers—Montaigne, Montesquieu, Foucault, Bordeaux, Mauriac, so consequently, the narrativity of the project is not only forgivable but obligatory.
  2. The square forms a unique kind of island in the middle of automobiles racing around it. The lonely house will attract the attention of the residents of the region; it will create for them the desire to come and rest in the square.
  3. Since people will be inside the square in order to take a break, they will consequently have the time to walk around in texts arranged on stone plaques near the windows of each of the residents. Hence, the outside observer can see not only signs of the lives of these people, but can also find out about the history of each of those very lives, and as when reading a book, can compare these lives with their own personal life; perhaps there is some similarity. That is why the house constructed in the center of the square does not differ in any way from the other houses that are just like it surrounding the square. Arguments reinforcing the idea of the proposed project: the house, climb the stairs, read and think “about life.”
  4. Over time, “the house with personages” will become the distinguishing feature, the symbol of this region of the city

Images

Literature

Kabakov-Installations-Vol-III-Cover
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