8 Windows 9 Doors

8 Windows 9 Doors

The sculpture “8 windows + 9 doors in light” is my artistic translation of the number 89 into space. In the historically significant year of 1989, there were many “windows” and “doors” in the GDR and in Europe, i.e. different possibilities and perspectives that opened or remained closed and on which the viewer could reflect.

“8 windows and 9 doors in light” – these can be possibilities, paths, offers, perspectives, opportunities. What does it feel like to stand in front of closed doors? Do you have a key yourself or will someone open it? A look out the window can give inspiration, sadness, joy, hope, light. But are you on the outside or are you on the inside? Sometimes you can’t pinpoint that. Every person encounters “windows of opportunity” every day and we talk about a window of opportunity that opens – sometimes only very briefly… Do you then take the chance or do you miss the moment that will never come again? can? The metaphor that some people know the windows and doors that need to be opened also fits into the power games in our world – and some don’t. What exactly is a window? From the artist’s point of view, the following definition (according to Wikipedia) takes on a very special meaning: „A window is an opening in a wall, usually an external wall of a building, with the purpose of letting light or air into the interior of the building, and being able to see out or in. Etymologically, the word comes from Latin: fenestra. The corresponding Gothic term is the windauga (wind eye), which is still in the Danish term vindue (cf. also English window), in Old High German it is called augadoro (eye gate).” What a great feeling it is, this word that means so much My work involves being able to read and understand a foreign language, especially since I couldn’t speak any German before I came to Germany. Here you can see that a language can also be a window or a door to a new spiritual world.

Growing up in Ireland, I had my own “Peaceful Revolution” as I grew from youth to adult. In my home country I also grew up with the separation within our population; Not only the clear case between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, between which there is a kind of wall, but even more complex was the invisible wall, the “pale”, that reigned around the capital Dublin. This term, which was adopted into the English world language, comes from the situation that the city of Dublin was a kind of island where the privileged and state power gathered in alliance with the English. Dublin was the so-called outpost of the British Empire in the eyes of many Irish people from outside the pale, i.e. outside Dublin. There was a strange feeling of separation within one’s own people and one could clearly sense the tension between city dwellers and country dwellers. The people, but not really a people, the same language but different upbringings. In retrospect, this island mentality of Dubliners within the island of Ireland may have prepared me for German “sensitivities”. When you come from an island, you are either a sworn islander or you are thinking about leaving the island so that you can finally explore the whole outside world. In this sense I have very early

started looking for “windows” and “doors” to the outside. At that time, important personalities could also be windows to the outside world, such as Milan Kundera (in one of his books I also read about the popular wisdom “the eyes are a window to the soul”), Lech Wałęsa or Petra Kelly. When I later studied in Edinburgh and New York, I heard in 1988/89 about an exhibition about “paper architecture” against the Iron Curtain, which, thanks to glasnost, could also be shown in the Western world and which I then saw in Edinburgh: What For me, a “turnaround” was the idea that architecture didn’t have to be built! The Russian architects and artists exhibited there had come up with fantastic buildings that, among other things, could not be built at all due to lack of materials, freedom and restrictions. This led to a freedom of thought in her work, which was incredibly impressive and showed me what the power of intellect can do.

For me, at a time when every day at my university was about real construction, about BS standards and building law, freedom was suddenly present again in unbuilt things, in drawings, in ideas and in poetry of building. This has had a strong influence on my own development. Not long afterwards I climbed through the augadoro, which had also opened the year 1989 for me, into a new stage in my life that began for me in Germany.

And again from Wikipedia: “A door (from ancient Greek θύρα thýra “door”, modern Greek “large doors”), especially Upper and Middle German Türe, also gate for larger specimens, is a device for closing an opening in one Wall. The door allows rooms to be separated from other rooms or the outside area while still maintaining the possibility of passage. Doors can be locked using a lock, making them inaccessible to unauthorized people. Other functions of the door include heat and sound insulation. … The opening direction of doors (often stop direction or impact direction) can refer to whether the leaf of a door opens to the left or right, as well as whether it opens into or out of a room space opens up.” Since politics and history often like things to be just as “simple”, we must resist the seductive simplification of the matter and give support to the complexity of an open, pluralistic society in all its apparent “disorientation”. In my sculpture, windows and doors do not need load-bearing walls, they are “wallless”, nest into each other, outside and inside become one; in their movement they complete the work, are part of the whole, create freedom. Each individual has their own inner landscape full of windows and doors, which in turn contain windows and doors within them that can also merge with my windows and doors. This can be our Europe.

Ruairí O’Brien

Dresden, Oktober 2009