The Appearance of Beauty


Gasometer Oberhausen is showing from 11 April to 1 November 2015 the variety of beauty in art– a 100-metre high installation “320° Light” from URBANSCREEN generates virtual spaces

Beauty has many faces. It manifests itself to us in the timeless simplicity of Nefertiti as well as in the inscrutable smile of Mona Lisa. It is to be found in the calm landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich, but also in Hokusai‘s powerful large wave which even seems to be burying Mount Fuji under itself. Beauty can be simple and radiant. Elegant and seductive. Magnificent and playful. However, it can also be dark and mysterious and disturbing. Artists from every epoch have made this variety of beauty visible in their pictures and sculptures, and hence the search for beauty is always reflected in the greatest works in the history of art.

The exhibition “The Appearance of Beauty” in Oberhausen’s Gasometer brings together important works of art from the world’s major museums in one place. It takes the visitors along on a fascinating journey through the various cultures and periods of the human race and leads us from the ancient world to Picasso. More than 150 large-format photographs and true to original castings open up a kaleidoscope of beauty that every visitor will experience on the basis of his/her own sense of beauty and through which he/she will constantly discover new connections and associations.

Reality and virtual space – the installation “320° Light”

The artistic climax of the exhibition is the “320° Light” installation by the group of artists URBANSCREEN from Bremen. It takes the cathedral-like beauty of the Gasometer as the starting point for a fascinating game with shapes and light. Within a radius of 320 degrees, graphic patterns grow and change on the 100-metre high interior wall of the Gasometer. The observer experiences a non-stop interplay between real and virtual space, in which the Gasometer seems to dissolve into its own structures and yet finally repeatedly reverts to its clear shape.
Points, lines and areas trace the elementary components of the surrounding architecture. From single dimensionality to three-dimensionality within the scene setting an imaginary space is developed. The basic graphic elements predominantly appear as a white full tone and reveal their second function when in the illuminated square the characteristic blackish-brown surface of the interior becomes recognisable.
Sounds fed in via seven channels supplement the space-defining effect of the installation. The composition is built up on the existing room sound and its natural resonance and hence forms an organic unity with the visual level of the work .With more than 20,000 square metres of area played upon, the installation is among the world’s largest and technically most sophisticated interior projections.

The Apperance of Beauty (Der schöne Schein) is an exhibition by Gasometer Oberhausen GmbH.

The curators are Peter Pachnicke and Wolfgang Volz who were already responsible for the implementation of successful projects in the Oberhausen Gasometer such as “Out of this World”, ”Magic Places“ and Christo’s ”Big Air Package”.

URBANSCREEN became internationally well-known through the spectacular illuminations of the Sydney opera house (Australia), Rice University in Houston (USA) and the sound and light compositions on the Hamburg Kunsthalle, the Vienna Art Quarter and the Bauhaus in Dessau.