Alles muss in Flammen stehen, 2005

Photo: Michael Strasser | © Bildrecht, Vienna, 2020
Photo: Michael Strasser | © Bildrecht, Vienna, 2020
Photo: Michael Strasser | © Bildrecht, Vienna, 2020

Model (chip board, expanded polystyrene board, acrylic glass), wooden crate
122 x 142 x 142 cm

Hans Schabus’s monumental takeover of the Austrian Pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale essentially converting a cultural location into a pseudo-natural setting when the artist mantled the pavilion with timber and tarpaper, transforming it into a full-scale mountain for an intervention titled The Last Land. The building, designed by Josef Hoffmann in 1935, is located on the Venetian island Sant’Elena, which is fittingly man-made from detritus of demolished houses and excavations. The extraordinary undertaking conceived of the pavilion as a singular space, a mountain to be explored by its visitors. 

In his creative practice, Hans Schabus concerns himself with the location of the artwork, staging interventions to explore the physical and psychological characteristics of the space to resulting in a stage-like location for display. The labyrinth contained within The Last Land hinted at something primeval, a metaphorical journey in physical form across multiple levels and viewing platforms. In conceiving the pavilion, Schabus extensively researched history of the pavilion, the first international fairs, and the Venice Biennale. Beginning at the artist’s studio in Vienna and spanning the peaks and valleys of the Austrian and Italian landscapes and histories, the work arrives its final form in Venice where it is documented within the “mountain.” 

Alles muss in Flammen stehen is the model created by Hans Schabus during his comprehensive research. As an investigation of the space, the artist lays out the groundwork for the transformation of the pavilion and the extensive labyrinth within. Laid out over multiple levels, observation hatches reveal views over the grounds of Sant’Elena and the surrounding city, the space is recast as a psychoarchitecture ready for exploration. – Alicia Reuter
Hans Schabus (born January 25, 1970 in Watschig, municipality of Hermagor-Pressegger in Carinthia) is an Austrian contemporary artist. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in Vienna with Bruno Gironcoli. He became famous for the design of the Austrian Pavilion at the 40th Venice Biennale in 2005. Schabus lives in Vienna.

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