As far back as 1999, Harald Szeemann had wanted to include Thomas Virnich’s “Fliegende Katakomben” in the exhibition he curated at Kunsthaus Zurich around the central concept of “World Decline and the Principle of Hope”. As the installation evolved, however, it became increasingly large and complex, ultimately outgrowing the limits of a group exhibition. In the end, Szeemann exhibited only a scaled-down model (1:100) in the Zurich show.
Now, for the first time, Klaus Littmann is bringing Thomas Virnich’s rampant sculptural cosmos to Zurich in its original size. Thanks to the cultural involvement of Trudie Götz, the venue will be Projektraum 455a, which was originally one of her Trois Pommes Luxury Vintage stores. This space will be used in future for exhibiting art in a non-commercial context.
The basic idea behind the “Fliegende Katakomben” came to Thomas Virnich during an extended stay in Rome in 1995. The vast, narrow and winding municipal catacombs fascinated him so much that he was inspired to create a “Rome sculpture”. He subsequently came across a bizarre collection of diverse objects and relics in an antique dealer’s
storeroom in Antwerp. Responding to the impressions made on him in Rome and Antwerp, he began to create his own cosmos – a world of his own that he could completely re-order and re-invent as often as he liked. In its entirety the work consists of 25 individual sculptures
measuring 7 × 5 metres and up to 5 metres in height, which can be adapted to the conditions of the specific exhibition space.
“As I stood there in the room, I just knew it was perfect for Thomas Virnich. In this space the ‘Fliegende Katakomben’ will be an experience that moves people”, says Klaus Littmann about Projektraum 455a and Virnich’s installation. Trudie Götz wants to use this space to raise young people’s awareness of art: “I’m looking forward to this adventure and I’m happy that I was able to arouse Klaus Littmann’s enthusiasm for it”.