Nan Hoover - Metropolis

A board member of the Nan Hoover Foundation since 2017, I conceived and planned the reconstruction of the interactive installation Metropolis that the artist did in 2006. The artwork, a site-specific piece made for the Museum of Art in Wiesbaden was carefully researched and adapted to the space of the Philara Sammlung in Düsseldorf in the frame of their exhibition Mirrors and Windows curated by Katharina Klang.

The audience enters a room filled with yellowish-red light. In the semi-darkness, one recognises black steles that remind of skyscrapers. This impression is reinforced by the shadows cast by the towers on walls of the white cube. As if, in the haze of the skyline, further buildings were staggered towards the horizon. Slowly you perceive that the room is populated, human shapes appear all around. They follow your steps, they move and vanish as one approaches the sources of the mysterious, emotionally charged light, they grow and shrink. They come and go, return and disappear again. But it is the visitors themselve who, by their presence in the exhibition space, create the moving black shapes. The constant element of surprise that this installation provokes increases the desire to take up Hoover’s offer to invent one’s own choreography.

After researching in the archives of Nan Hoover, observing the photographs produced in Wiesbaden and discussing with several witnesses of the original version of Metropolis, a careful design was developed especially for the space of the Philara Sammlung. All details and technology from 2001 were respected (the light is produced by slide projectors equipped with theatre gels). The reconstruction creates, therefore, the same physical experience to the visitors than the original one.

Nan Hoover - Metropolis
in Mirrors and Windows, curated by Katharina Klang
June 18 — October 03, 2021
Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf (Germany)

Research and conception: Thibaut de Ruyter for the Nan Hoover Foundation