Context: Located within an old building in the historic area of the city that is used as a cultural centre, the Stadtgalerie is in some way exemplary for a simultaneous dominance and absence of the building fabric. The building is entirely constructed of local sandstone, a material typical for most of the buildings in this area of the city. The characteristic green-greyish colour of the sandstone is omnipresent outside in the facades of the houses, whereas it is mostly invisible on the inside, covered by panelings and additional plasterboard walls.
As part of a renovation five years prior to the exhibition, new passages between the gallery spaces had been created and therefore pieces of the wall were cut out. Since the renovation, the removed sandstone blocks had been deposited in the building‘s courtyard and used for practical purposes, as barriers or seats, their origin remaining unknown to nearly everyone.

For the exhibition at the Stadtgalerie, six huge sandstone blocks were transferred back into the space where they had been taken from. At the same time, one side of a door case which had been built after the removal of the wall pieces was demounted, thereby revealing the cut face of the massive sandstone wall behind the covering panels. After the years of exposure to environmental influences, the sandstone blocks from the courtyard showed traces of aging, use by humans and organic transformation. On the other hand, installed as objects within the clean space, they presented their fine and diverse surfaces shaped by the patterns of the original manual preparation.

Sandstone blocks, wooden beams, partially removed door frame

Exhibition view: Stadtgalerie, Bern, 2015