Kunstmuseen Krefeld / Museum Haus Esters, 2006
Of all the artistic interventions that have features in the history of the Houses Lange and Esters in Krefeld, few amounted to such a radical change in the given space as Shiro Matsui's work Jonah's Green. Already while walking around the outside of the villa we realized that while at one moment we were looking in to the inside, the next moment we were looking at the outer skin. The artists had constructed his work in such a way that the inside and outside alternated as one walked past.
The original impetus of the building's architect, Mies van der Rohe - to create a graduated field of interference between the landscaped garden and the architecture by means of large windows opening onto the garden - was taken to its logical end by Matsui's intervention. With Jonah's green, Matsui completely reversed the central idea behind Mie's building.
The airy, cave-like sculpture, which embraced the entire space, was a spirited refusal of the characteristic piecing together of rectangular surfaces that distinguishes Mie's architecture. And particularly cunning here was was the way Matsui's almost biomorphic skin rigorously followed the master's architecture.
This interim space between fabric and architecture, which in places remained invisible, was probably the decisive factor in the work: it was here that the vacuum - which was actually responsible for the installation coming in to being - manifested itself.
Matsui accompanied this piece by a second work situated in the garden outside Haus Esters, which was also based on the same law of physics - Pascal's Law. It consisted of a pond which also had a biomorphic feel to it, together with a glass pillar containing a column of liquid likewise suspended by a vacuum.
All in all the piece came across as a kind of paraphrase of the main work. For if while looking from the inside to the outside we were fortunate enough to hit the right moment and suddenly see a fish swimming in the column of water, we were instantly made aware of our own state as a visitor to a system that is simultaneously open and closed.
Dr Martin Hentchel, Director of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld
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