Bad Tölz: Exhibition “Death in Venice” – Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen

The weeds growing from the cracks in the former Alpamare parking lot next to the foyer in Bad Tölz turned yellow due to the heat. Willows, birches, grass break up the cracked asphalt surface, in this useless place lie glass shards and cigarette butts scattered around. Sometimes there are young people, homeless or curious, who want to know what happened to this urban wasteland after Alpamare closed. Like nothing. An emptiness that nature regains powerfully.

Florian Hüttner, a Tölz artist, winner of the Tassilo Prize and associate of the Landscape Art Gallery (GFLK), strolls around the square. “I associate this place with death,” he says. The new exhibition project, supported by the Free State of 25,000 euros and having a special relationship with the spa, called “Death in Venice”. Because the motifs of the jungle, steamy weather, cholera, which foreshadow the death of the hero Gustav von Aschenbach and the neglected Alpamare parking lot, seem to Hüttner to refer to the novel “Death in Venice”, which Thomas Mann wrote in 1911 in his country house in Tölz Has.

As part of the preparations, he showed five artists a film by Visconti and photos of the car park. Because the patch is just one parameter, says Hüttner. The second is this strange non-place itself: the urban biotope that heralds decay but also appropriation; by nature, by people. Or through art. Because among the bushes, sometimes so hidden that you have to crawl into the thicket, there are large-format billboards with photos of the famous photo artist Katharina Sieverding. And the light balls manipulated by Nana Petzet in such a way that their effect on insects could be observed.

The dixi toilet that stands open and is decorated with two architectural plans by Nils Norman. How can the abomination be meaningfully transformed? This is how Hüttner interprets the installation of a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Or as an allusion to the fact that Thomas Mann meticulously kept a record of his digestion. Clegg & Guttmann, who had already put up book shelves in Graz and Hamburg in the early 1990s as object installations in public spaces, offer the “Thomas Mann Open Public Library” in the car park. Define a sub-area with a 17-meter feather-light panel and mark a secluded spot; perhaps as a reference to homoerotic themes in Mann’s short story. The screen printing work is done by Philipp Gufler, a young artist who is a member of the Queeres Archiv München forum and focuses on gender issues.

Clegg & Guttmann offers the “Thomas Mann Public Open Library” in the car park.

(Photo: Manfred Neubauer)

It is hot on this Monday afternoon and not everything is ready yet. Hüttner still has to stick one of Sieverding’s photo works two meters by two meters on a billboard – which is not so easy as the Düsseldorf artist insisted not to trim overgrown bushes. Even the garbage that was there remains. As always with the GFLK projects in Bad Tölz, Hüttner, who does not appear as an artist at the present exhibition but as a curator, invited famous international artists. And as always, the subject and implementation are demanding.

The interplay between science and art is exciting for Nana Petzet. Her work “Lichtfalle” alludes to the “Blue Port” event in Hamburg, which takes place every two years. By using blue light, which is especially awake to you, mass audiences should be able to experience the “blue hour”. The party in Hamburg attracts not only many people, but also a mass of insects for whom the blue hour becomes a death trap. On the basis of scientific observations, Petzet, who studied at the academies of art in Munich and Hamburg, raises artistic questions: artificial lighting as an undisputed aesthetic means? City marketing and “attention terror” at any cost? In Bad Tölz, this approach is followed: 15 of the 28 spherical lamps in the car park are covered with different types of lightproof foil. The different phases of the moon played a role, explains Hüttner, and the response of the insects.

Art project in Bad Tölz: Nana Petzet designs light traps for insects.

Nana Petzet designs lightweight insect traps.

(Photo: Manfred Neubauer)

The evaluation, which is part of the art project, takes place in the lobby. A photo work by Sieverding hangs over the entrance, which alludes to the digital projection “Looking at the sun at midnight” shown in Tölz in 2016. Otherwise, the room remains empty. The main exhibition space is the car park, which houses the objects, installations and former Alpamare advertising posters that Sieverding designed with her large photos. As always with Beuys’ student, there are reflections about her own identity and political statements: for example, a 1978 documentary photo of the Chinese military that is hidden like camouflage in a parking lot among the bushes. Enola Gay bomber from which the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Overlays, alienated, radiological recordings, or NASA data condensed into an image of the sun.

The exhibition situation poses specific questions for Hüttner: can art temporarily transform this freely accessible place? How do the users of this car park react to the exhibition? Do they influence it or does the place change? Artists know that works of art are not guarded and exposed to bad weather, says Hüttner. This is what is exciting about the exhibition: every intervention at this point is part of the experiment. Incidentally, the two taped, abandoned cars at the top of the parking lot are not works of art. They’ve been here for a long time, says Hüttner. “Now they are part of the exhibition.”

Opening on July 30 at Exhibition from July 31 to August 31, foyer open from Wednesday to Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and by prior arrangement at 0176-80 44 65 38. Information on other events can be found at

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