by Daniel Zimmermann, 2019
Since 2003, a dedicated room for artistic intervention has been integrated into the Museum of Contemporary Art. A space of resonance relations, of conversation: between the sacred and the secular, the past and the present. Transformations and processes. The artists who have been invited so far have surprised us again and again—with their incredibly multi-layered and complex artistic solutions in their references to Admont Monastery as a site of the spiritual and intellectual, as a place of such diverse collections; to the library, the archives and the almost 950-year-old cultural memory. Daniel Zimmermann adapted this room under the title WALDEN in 2019.
In the commercial timberland belonging to Admont Monastery, a silver fir was felled and processed into 1,500 wooden slats that were stacked and then shipped by train, truck and boat to the Brazilian rainforest. In keeping with the times, WALDEN portrays the paradoxical journey of the stack of wooden slats along globalised trade routes to its mysterious final destination, Campinha on the central Rio Negro near an indigenous community in the middle of the Amazon, with 360° scenes.
This action is a metaphorical reference to socio-political realities. The cosmopolitan reflection on ecological aspects of international transport makes the functioning of the globalized economy visible. The main flow of goods usually goes from South America to Europe, from the resource-rich rainforests of the Amazon to the countries of the “developed” world. With shipping the wooden slats, we are embarking on the same route, but in the opposite direction. Perspectives are shifting. Our own conceptual space is mobilized.
The Walden project is situated somewhere between postfactual documentary, political-economic criticism and surreal action. During their journey, the wooden slats of a silver fir were in a silent, absurd limbo between works of art and banal objects of everyday use.
Daniel Zimmermann, born in Thun, Switzerland, visual artist, originally a wood sculptor; works with film, stereoscopic photography, installation and performance. He has realised numerous art projects in museums, exhibition spaces and in the public space in Switzerland and internationally. Among other projects, his work includes short films that have also been shown at renowned international film festivals. In 2008, one of his films was nominated for Best Swiss Short Film. He has received several scholarships and awards for his projects. Since 2005, he has collaborated with choreographer Amanda Piña and founded nadaproductions, where he works as artistic director, dramaturge and performer.