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Pavillon, Glasaugen


The Berlin-based artist Raimund Kummer has set his architectural sculpture in a small clearing in the northwestern end of Petuelpark, framed by a group of trees. Inside a simple octagonal pavilion hang two objects made of green glass, which, upon closer inspection, can be identified as oversized human eyes. Like a greenhouse or a birdcage, the architectural shell seems to want to protect the fragile sculptures from the viewer, yet at the same time, the delicate organ is displayed in an almost voyeuristic manner.

The octagon—an eight-cornered architectural form—cites traditional architectural history from antiquity to the baroque. It defines prominent and imposing buildings that are of important aesthetic and contextual significance. In Raimund Kummer’s piece, the octagon also takes on this function, lending the site a nearly sacred character. Internal human life is on display here, the supposed result of a medical exam in a monstrous looking, yet aesthetically excessive sculpture. Human and animal, plant and artificial form all at once, the eye becomes the “mirror to the soul” as well as an image of the immobile landscape and the constant change in human presence: the nearby surroundings are reflected in the concave glass pupils floating above the ground. The internal and the external, the self and the other blur.

Thus, the octagonal pavilion becomes an intimate grove in the midst of the surrounding urban environment—a small chapel, inside of which the “green eyes” have taken on the function of a modern sacred icon. They symbolize the soul of the park as well as of each individual visitor, as metaphorically described by the apostle Matthew: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be pure, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.”