Kiki Smith


öffentlich zugänglich

Ecke Barlachstraße, Klopstockstraße 10, 80804 München

3-teilige Wandarbeit im Café

Architecture: Uwe Kiessler

Photos: Wilfried Petzi

Text: Florian Matzner


Café Petuelpark – Klopstockstrasse 10
(Corner of Barlachstrasse)

Architect: Uwe Kiessler
Part of the Petuelpark Art Project

“I’ve discovered that I can take the language of a discipline and cross it with my personal life, putting one system on top of another,” said the American sculptor Kiki Smith about her work as an artist. For the large wall on the upper floor of the café in Petuelpark, she created a three-part mural that seeks to lure the visitor into a world of imagination and dreams. Two constellations of stars frame the image of a rose bush, as if the viewer were standing next to the bush at night and looking at the clear, starry sky. In this way, the artist opens up the building’s interior to the exterior of Petuelpark.

Smith’s reliefs begin with bronze plates, whose outlines and image are treated with high-pressure jets of water. Afterward, the metal is processed so that a greenish patina invigorates the surface, allowing the material esthetic of the bronze to recede. The visual vocabulary for the artist’s new series of works is derived from the most diverse historic, literary, scientific, or artistic sources and then mixed with her own personal world of ideas. Smith takes anatomical exams, medieval images, items and objects from very different cultures, mythologies, and religions—often concentrating on themes concerning women—and then transforms them in either abstract geometrical or representational figurative ways.

The mural, on the other hand, deliberately provides no answer to the questions it asks: What exactly is depicted? What is meant by it? Guests at the café in Petuelpark are left to their own devices, challenged to respond to these questions themselves, or, as the artist put it, to develop their own personal system of answers and interpretations, associations and dreams. In this way, a world of personal thought is created between heaven and earth, between objectivity and subjectivity—a new cosmological system with a narrative form that is as authentic as it is intimate.