NOWs: Räumen IV by Nina Schuiki

17 November 2016 / Nows


Nina Schuiki: Räumen IV, 2016

On the occasion of the publication release of the project Schlafzimmer, curated by Julia Thiemann and published by Künstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral, 2016.

Upon the invitation of Julia Thiemann to propose a work within her sleeping and working room hosted by the Künstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral curatorial fellowship, the presentation of Nina Schuiki‘s work shifted into a private space. The extended dialogue between them shaped the outcome of this project.

Excerpts from the accompanying text by Julia Thiemann:

“After several dialogues and exchanges about the living and working situation on-site, Nina Schuiki created an instruction piece that temporarily changed the room without introducing a foreign object. Referring completely to everyday objects and phenomena, Schuiki composed a situation condensing the experience of time and space.

She concentrated on the small sleeping and working area, the desk and the bed in front of the windows with a view, then separated the larger working area with its sloping roof by requesting the closing of an existing cotton curtain. In this reduced space a water heating element was to be positioned and continuously let to boil two litres of water so that water steam would fill the space little by little, clouding the view.


After a period the windows condensed completely, the view was eliminated and attention to the surrounding exterior shifted towards the inside of the room. In a kind of mist, the interior landscape became focused, and the function of the windows was temporarily negated to achieve an intensified situation of privacy and isolation.This choreography was appended with an instruction that I as a curator and inhabitant of this space should sit at the work table and read specifically chosen books* from the neighbouring library room while the process of evaporation took place. Together, the work addresses an everyday situation, reflecting and revealing its introspection. The processual transition between two physical processes occurs simultaneously to that between two psychological states, and the fluidity between each is made perceptible.


Walter Benjamin spoke of a “Wolkenwandelbarkeit der Dinge”——the changeable perception of things——which can metaphorically as well as literally be applied to the work. However, Nina Schuiki aesthetic gestures also always remain as concrete actions in time and space, rooted in the visible cause and effect principle of the here and now. The remarkable enchantment in the encounter of the created situational perception lies exactly in the simple yet precise gesture that can unfold with tremendous impact. With her minimal, aesthetic interventions into given situations and conditions, Nina Schuiki attempts an astonishingly tangible de-materialization of art that surprises us by this very paradox.”

*The exact books were chosen based upon details shared during the course of correspondence between Julia Thiemann and Nina Schuiki: Art and Anarchy by Edgar Wind; Untitled, 1996 (tomorrow is another day) by Rirkrit Tiravanija; Techniques of the Observer by Jonathan Crary.

The exhibition series Schlafzimmer-Ausstellung contained solo presentations by Matthias Conrady (Thermohygrograph, 2016), Heiko Wommelsdorf (Teedrogen, 2016) and Nina Schuiki (Räumen IV, 2016), each of which has been documented in the Schlafzimmer publication.