COLUMNS – Bundle
Episode 1: The Idea
This episode begins with Bernd Zimmer and the artists’ statements about the idea of the project. The film shows the completed columned hall and then jumps back to 2019. Bernd Zimmer is confronted with a protest action of the opponents in the village and the episode accompanies him until the laying of the foundation stone in November. This is followed by the first news about covid-19, the construction work begins with the first lockdown in early 2020. We accompany the artists Björn Melhus, Justine Gaga, Jens Lehmann, Wolfgang Stiller and finally the Kirghiz Shaarbeck Amankuul. He is trapped – surprised by the lockdown – in Polling and cannot travel home.
Episode 2: The Foundation
The structural columns are in place, now it´s time for art. But do the works meet the static requirements? Painter Bernd Zimmer is now construction site manager and gets caught between building regulations and artistic freedom. Achim Freyer describes art as the center of men, Via Lewandowsky plays with statics and Bernd Zimmer paints the cosmos on his column. More columns come to Polling or are made by craftsmen from the region – like the sculptor Ingo Hipp. Gina Czarnecki from England scans a dancer and builds her column with human bodies, Daniel Man carves the signs of Germany’s best-known graffiti artists into a wooden column and Walter Vopava shows a bronze casting. The hall takes shape.
Episode 3: The Experience
Where does the artistic motif come from, where does the artist come from, where does the idea of the column come from? Peter Halley brings a brightly colored geometry from New York to Polling, Mathias Glas welds a Polling column with his father from his grandfather’s tools, and on the other side of the world, on the Marquesas, Maheatete Huhina carves a tiki with his son. Andre Loginov from Belarus wants to see his sculptural idea weather in fleeting motion, whereas Leiko Ikemura challenges eternity with a mosaic column. The roof is laid over the first part of the construction. The Greek Yorgos Sapountzis honors his father with an “electrician’s monument”. Bernd Zimmer has to put up prohibition signs and is further antagonized by local people. The final word is given to Hans Schabus from Austria and his column with the life ring.
Episode 4: The Art
Episode 4 asks about the political in art. Rozbeh Asmani liberates corporate colors on advertising columns, Kwame Akoto Bamfo creates the memorial of a “modern slave” in Ghana – in the US George Floyd has just died due to police violence. Willie Cole in New Jersey simply wishes to be an artist without being labeled black. Sigfried Anzinger criticizes the stuffy times and sees art free of any pretension. The first academy column from Munich lets the stars ring out over Polling, and the Nikolaus Lang tells the story of human trafficking in the Bavarian monarchy – for him, art is never apolitical. Franz Ackermann calls for restraint in the tension between assertion and evidence, and as soon the Hall opens for public – with distance rules and face masks – it is closed in the fall of 2020 because of covid.
Episode 5: The World
It’s January 2021, Corona protests and the storming of the US Capitol overshadow this time. The team is not allowed to hold tours, nerves are tense. Olaf Metzel installs his column of newspaper articles from 2020 – the worst year ever. Wolfgang Flatz plants a tree in the hall, the crown of leaves penetrates the roof. Gerald Meier from the STOA169 team maintains the hall and explains the philosophy “remember that you are mortal” and “love your destiny”. Gregor Hildebrandt from Berlin makes music perceptible that you can’t hear anymore. A column from Kenya is stuck in a container in the Suez Canal and the topic of vaccination and testing determines the dialogue at the construction site. Benjamin Bergmann has wooden panels cast from aluminium while a tree trunk from Australia is placed next to his column. Ulrich Rückriem only shows the material and next to it a transgender figure arrives – produced with a 3d printer. The end of the episode is determined by Thomas Killper and his woodcut to the heroes from 2020 with the quote: “We will not move back to what was, but move to what shall be” – Amanda Gorman.
Episode 6: The Reason
Many artists still can’t come because of the pandemic, craftsmen take over the realization of the ideas. An exception is Leo Namislow – for three weeks he is working on his column in Polling. The roof is finished. The young sculptor Lara Lehmann carves her idea of evolution and discovers the artist in herself, while Judith Bernstein from New York describes her view of feminism and art as an outlet for her rage at injustice.
Bernd Zimmer can’t believe it when the hall is finally completed; at the opening in the fall of 2021, he inaugurates the symbol of international understanding and peace. A few months later, the Ukraine war begins. Bernd Zimmer and his wife Nina attend an academy class in Georgia and Fiona Hall finalizes her column, a burnt tree, by painting the Fibonacci series on the trunk. A mathematical derivation from aesthetics in nature: Art as a dialogue between life and habitat.