Born in 1970 in Watschig in Austria, Hans Schabus lives and works in Vienna. Solo exhibitions were held in particular in 2003 at the Secession exhibition in Vienna (Astronaut) and in 2007 at SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico (Deserted Conquest). Hans Schabus was particularly remarked for his monumental wooden structure encompassing the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennial in 2005. In 2008, he designed ‘Demolirerpolka’, a wooden fence that covered the entire façade of the IAC for the exhibition ‘Fabricateurs d’espaces’. The exhibition at the Institute consists of existing and new works by the artist—installations, videos, sculptures and collages.
Hans Schabus performs radical acts—digging, filling, encircling, cutting—to deconstruct and restructure space, changing our references and movements. His works generally refer to his immediate environment and the materials that form it. The artist’s studio appears as the matrix of his work, where his life and thinking are spatialised, the first place in which the relation between mental space and physical space is materialised.
Entitled Nichts geht mehr (‘Rien ne va plus’) by the artist, the exhibition at the Institute creates tension at the venue. In addition to referring to the suspense and feverish intensity of casinos, the title summarises the pressure exerted by a steel chain on the space itself and its components.
Hans Schabus questions existing spatial data and creates new spaces that give a bash to the ‘white cube’ neutral exhibition space. However, unlike previous generation, the artist works above all with the site; he questions the space as such and not the museum. The sculptures, architectural volumes, objects, videos and photographs presented result from both physical and mental experience of the space by the artist, who aims at smashing all kinds of frontiers and countering the authority of architecture.
This spatial thinking materialised by the works forges new pathways and new routes. These are visible in particular through symbolic spaces of stairs, tunnels, corridors, etc. whose layouts are meticulously fitted out and presented by the artist in a continuous to and fro movement with their source place, the studio. Hans Schabus’ work, presented here with its formal diversity and in all its aspirations puts the notions of threshold and passage into play, staging them. He starts from objects, facts and real places to approach a lyrical, imaginary dimension. By recovering and using remains in a new way, by changing circulation, Hans Schabus continues along his path and transcends experiences.