Gregor Schneider: 19–20:30 Uhr 31.05.2007
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2007

© Elodie Grethen

In 2007, German artist Gregor Schneider staged a meticulously choreographed queue of visitors in front of Berlin's State Opera House. In this artist's book, he presents his "libretto" for this performance piece, along with photographs, and takes stock of the project. 

The project for the Magazin of the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden engages the audience in the disturbing experience of uncertainty. Its title, 7–8:30 PM, 05.31.2007, refers to the exact time frame of an event, an occurrence whose nature remains unknown. Through subtle interventions Schneider creates awareness of fundamental questions with regard to space and public and puts spectator’s heightened sensations, memories, and fears at the center of their experience. Schneider’s project is the first presentation of the international renowned artist in Berlin after 13 years and his first work within the context of theater.
While Schneider’s performance is reminiscent of the history of performance art’s “durational time,” he places 7–8:30 PM 31.05.2007 within the acute context of contemporary art. How can one organize a mass of people in a space with the simplest of means? This was the question that triggered the process in Gregor Schneider’s mind when he began to conceive the organization of the project for the Magazin der Staatsoper. Or is this a case – as Boris Groys proclaims in his description of the installation – of architecture itself becoming art? How close – also in Schneider’s oeuvre in general – are the topoi of the traditionally separated concepts of Installation and Performance? Which roles are taken on by the public, the spectator, or the agent? Is the position of the spectator the essence of the spectacle? How does the “composition” – that is, the arrangement of the public – appear, especially in consideration of the architectural frame of the Magazin building itself? Which bodily and psychic experiences are being manipulated and reanimated within the controlled “Situationist” setting of 7–8:30 PM 31.05.2007?
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König
105 pages, German/English 
ISBN: 978-3-86560-341-8
edited by
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin
design by
Jens Pieper (Floor5 Design)
Thomas Macho, Susanne Pfeffer, Thomas Raab, András Siebold, Daniela Zyman