VOL. 15
Extending Kippenberger's METRO-Net


Extending Kippenberger’s METRO-Net is a large-scale installation designed as an homage to and continuation of the “METRO-Net” project, by German artist Martin Kippenberger (1953–1997). It is located in the municipality of Notre-Dame-de-Bois, Québec, Canada, 250 km south-east of Montréal.

Inspired in all likelihood by a film scene in which the comic Buster Keaton emerges from a subway exit in a deserted, icy landscape (The Frozen North, 1922), in 1993 Kippenberger began mapping out an idea for a utopian public transit system: an imaginary subway network with entrances, exits and ventilation shafts installed around the world. Before it could be “completed”, the project—a tongue-in-cheek commentary on globalization, but also an echo of underground culture and a reflection on the independence of artistic action in the face of institutions—was cut short by the untimely death of the artist. Kippenberger had time, however, to build—or at least to conceive—a few installations of his imaginary network: three permanent and site-specific subway station entrances, on the Greek island of Syros (1993), in Dawson City, Canada (1995) and in Leipzig, Germany (1997), an air shaft at MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles (dismantled in the years 2000), plus portable units exhibited at documenta X in Kassel and at the Skulpturen Projekte Münster, both in Germany, as well as at Metro Pictures in New York (1997). But the acquisition of the site-specific installation of Dawson City in 2008 by a U.S. museum, and its subsequently dismantling and relocation to that institution’s reserves, has jeopardized the existence of “METRO-Net” in its original spirit.

Mindful of the risk that this work might disappear, Scherübel aimed to revitalize the project in the spirit of Kippenberger, favouring an “active conservation” approach. He has designed a new subway entrance, which has been permanently installed in an exotic locale, as was the case in Syros and Dawson City. An agreement reached with the municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Bois, near the Mont Mégantic National Park, has enabled the extension of the “METRO-Net” to a rest stop at the entrance to the village. Following Kippenberger’s conceptual tropes with respect to the construction materials and styles, the new entrance references the local architectural context, in the form of a rustic “boom town” look (a nod to the village’s gold-rush origins), the modernist style of the Montreal metro, as well as the first station seen in the Keaton film.

http://klausscheruebel.com/files/gimgs/12_scheruebelmetro0h8a0379500x750.jpg
“Extending Kippenberger’s METRO-Net”, 2012-2013. Concrete, wood, metal, glass, paint, vinyl letters, vintage lamp, electrical wiring, posters, 365 x 365 x 548 cm. Notre-Dame-des-Bois, Québec, Canada
http://klausscheruebel.com/files/gimgs/12_scheruebelmetro0h8a0387500x750c.jpg
“Extending Kippenberger’s METRO-Net”, 2012-2013. Concrete, wood, metal, glass, paint, vinyl letters, vintage lamp, electrical wiring, posters, 365 x 365 x 548 cm. Notre-Dame-des-Bois, Québec, Canada
http://klausscheruebel.com/files/gimgs/12_ks0h8a5965crop500.jpg
“Extending Kippenberger’s METRO-Net”, 2012-2013.
http://klausscheruebel.com/files/gimgs/12_ksmetro-net-ext4500.jpg
“Extending Kippenberger’s METRO-Net (Map)”, 2012-2013.
http://klausscheruebel.com/files/gimgs/12_ks0h8a5977333x500.jpg
“Extending Kippenberger’s METRO-Net”, 2012-2013.
http://klausscheruebel.com/files/gimgs/12_0h8a7497s.jpg
“Extending Kippenberger’s METRO-Net”, 2012-2013.
http://klausscheruebel.com/files/gimgs/12_0h8a7498-copy-2.jpg
“Extending Kippenberger’s METRO-Net”, 2012-2013.