"Sammelstelle", 1992

Basel 2016
corrugated iron, steel, aluminium
350.0 x 500.0 Size (cm)
137.8 x 196.9 Size (in)
"Sammelstelle" has been exhibited previously: at Kunsthalle Hamburg in 1992, as refugees began to arrive in Germany from former Yugoslavia, and for Metzel’s comprehensive retrospective in 2013 at Kunstverein Hamburg. In "Sammelstelle" Metzel creates a closed room, accessible only through a metal revolving door. Completely lined with corrugated metal, large cracks run across its walls, metal rubbish bins are piled up, cut open, or completely destroyed. Anger and despair seem to have been vented here. In everyday life, we encounter collection points (the translation of Sammelstellen) as non-sites, where people find one another in cases of disaster, fire, or other catastrophes. But they are also — and this seems closest to Metzel’s anonymous empty room — places of immediate before-or-after deportation: it was in 1992, before or after the so-called repatriation, when asylum was not granted, that Metzel felt the urge to produce a work that transforms the displaced reality into an experience within an art piece. As a spatial installation, Metzel’s impressive "Sammelstelle" is exemplary for his often explicitly political works, whose significance for the present derives from the social relevance that keeps reenacting itself. It is through the events of recent months that Metzel’s work maintains and disseminates its powerful actuality once more.