Years of Construction
by Heinz Emigholz
The film begins with the sound of water. A building site on the other side of the Rhine: Block 9 of Mannheim Power Station. The opening was planned for 2013. Years of Construction follows the demolition and reconstruction of part of the Kunsthalle Mannheim between 2013 and 2018. Starting from the fountains in the Friedrichsplatz opposite, Emigholz’s camera approaches the building complex. A passage leads from the imposing Jugendstil edifice to the 1983 extension by Hans Mitzlaff; the sculptures it was built for seem to be trying to find their place in a space not big enough for them. The architecture isn’t suitable for paintings: it casts light and shadow according to its own whims. In between, Emigholz shows streets that cross at right angles, bridges and overpasses, the city of Mannheim. References to the vision of architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners: after the demolition and construction phase, a complex of cubes, passages and terraces appears and forms an interior. A stone and a clock swing through the air: “The Moving Emptiness of the Moment” is the name of the installation. Metal meshing holds the new Kunsthalle – a mighty cube when seen from the outside – firmly in its grip.