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"Lamentation for Ur", 2012, Charcoal, pastels, acryl on paper

Christoph Schäfer

19.07.2012 20:00–11.08.2012 / Lamentation on the destruction of Ur
Location: kunstraum pro arte
  • Opening: Thursday 19 July 2012 at 8 p.m.
    Introduction: Jo Ractliffe
    Duration: 20 July–11 August 2012
    Opening hours: Tues–Fri 4 – 7 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
    Address: Schöndorferplatz 5, 5400 Hallein
    Christoph Schäfer shows new large-scale drawings. The city occupies a central place in his work; his incisive and penetrating examination of it ranges from its origins – e.g. of the city of Ur in Babylon 6,000 years ago – right up to current developments.

    In his book The City is our Factory (2010) he writes: “The process of urbanisation begins in the very moment when groups of humans start to sort and agglomerate things. Because the city is not only defined by density – but above all by the accumulation of differences. – […] Heaps transform into mountains, Uçhisar in Cappadocia, a hollowed mountain inhabited for the past 6,500 years, excavations in Ur, making land arable, urbanity, prehistory (ur-history), origin (or ur-igin), leap, hairy being, Assur: five house models, formed from clay.” (p. 290)

    In his drawings, Schäfer manages to cover a wide range, from the beginnings of human habitation to contemporary urbanistic analyses and criticism of the gentrification policies of today’s “image” cities. His style enables him to present his stories and theories concisely, giving the viewer a completely new perspective on historical developments and the ways in which the present-day city is constituted.

    The title of the exhibition, Lamentation for Ur, refers to the dirges handed down through history, in which the Babylonians mourn the destruction of some of their cities.