John Körmeling

John Körmeling (1951) studied architecture but also moves freely in the fields of urban development, design and art. First and foremost he is an astute thinker who develops a torrent of ideas in sketches, drawings, photographs and models. In recent years these designs are more often actually executed on a scale of 1:1, usually in the form of a monumental work in a public space, balancing between sculpture and functional architecture.

In fact the term 'public space' is a key concept in John Körmeling's work. He asks himself how public the space still is. After all, aren't freedom and mobility systematically curtailed by all kinds of patronizing restrictions? With his frank outlook and an infectious sense of humour, Körmeling undermines set ideas and shows up the bureaucratic merry-go-round. His work can often be interpreted as an ironic commentary on the stupidity of the laws, rules and principles which we have become so used to we hardly dare question them any more.

For instance, what about a parking carpet which would arrange a parking bay for your car anywhere you like and in no time at all? Or the No Smoking brand of cigarette which enjoys free advertising all over the world? However, whereas lots of art gets stuck in addressing the problem, Körmeling provides solutions that are often so logical in their simplicity that you have to wonder why they are not executed in full at once. For instance, his suggestion for solving traffic jams is simply to build wider motorways with added lanes for variable speeds. In this way everyone can drive at their own preferred speed and even stop on the motorway if necessary. Moreover, if we change to silent, environmentally friendly cars which run on hydrogen, all sorts of environmental requirements
like sound-absorbing walls will no longer be necessary. In this way we can plan roads with their original use in mind: driving from A to B as efficiently and pleasurably as possible. But then we first have to get rid of the idea that the car is by definition the ogre.In 2005, Z33 held a retrospective exhibition of Körmeling's work with models, drawings, objects and a documentary film. In addition to this the centre also commissioned him to think about a number of urban pressure points in Belgian Limburg, particularly the bottleneck on the busy Eindhoven-Liège motorway, the upgrading of the Roman road in the Haspengouw region for the purposes of tourism and the reorganisation of the site of the former coal-mine in Beringen. In workshops and lectures visitors were invited to formulate their own ideas about these sites.

- Peter Pollers


13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
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