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Hans Schabus

Cafe Hansi

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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On March 17, 2017, a new bar will be placed in front of the mumok cinema. Funds from the mumok Board made it possible to buy Cafe Hansi (2015) by Hans Schabus. This crazy fantasy bar (not to be confused with Café Hansy near Vienna’s Praterstern) can operate autonomously within the museum—even a small kitchen and a WC are integrated into this space. Nothing is left to chance, and the interior is designed down to the tiniest detail, from silver cladding to the mirrored counter. Schabus even designed the glasses himself; they are used to serve water, wine, schnaps, and Hansa beer.

The external walls of this small space are in a deliberately simple DIY look that contrasts starkly with the highly conceptual interior design. The outer walls of this sculpture are made of basic wooden boards screwed together, looking rather careless. The pipes for the toilet are clearly visible, leading to mumok’s own drainage system. Schabus uses the outer walls of what looks like a forgotten wooden cubicle left by mistake in front of the mumok cinema for a pleasantly chaotic presentation of his own collection of trinkets and ornaments, which he has put together over the last fifteen years. These objects all contain the artist’s first name in one way or another and they range from posters for concerts by Austrian popstar Hansi Hinterseer to stuffed canaries to rolls of Hansa medicinal plaster. They stand for Schabus’s obsession with his name and the many meanings that this has in different contexts.

Schabus is known for his very large complex sculptures. He flooded Kunsthaus Bregenz. In 2005 he covered the Austrian pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia with a “mountain,” and in 2003 he bricked up the Secession. In Cafe Hansi he explores the difficult distinction between inside and outside, between the staged personality of the artist and an authentic person. Only from the inside can this functional and rough artwork be seen from its showy side, in which the artist is no longer represented by other objects. Here he himself appears. Working as a barkeeper, he helps guests to quench their thirst with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Inside the work he becomes a kind of meta-Hans, compiled of all the pictures that the visitors have in mind when they look at the collection of trinkets and think of the popular everyday name Hans.

Cafe Hansi at mumok will be inaugurated on March 30, 2017.