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Art at the ibc in Frankfurt

A recently published catalogue documenting the latest commissioned works in Deutsche Bank’s new headquarters for private and business clients in Frankfurt am Main.

Heiner Blum, Wie und Wo, Photo: (c) Bärbel Högner
Deutsche Bank Collection

“You are here. Have a nice day.” In his electronic orientation system How and Where , these are the words the Frankfurt-based artist Heiner Blum uses to greet visitors to the new headquarters of Business & Private Clients opposite the Frankfurt Fair that Deutsche Bank moved into in the spring of 2004. Set off by movement sensors, text and image messages alternate on the displays spread throughout the building. Along with information about the respective location, the plasma screens show the pixeled portraits of over 240 staff members, taken from the bank identity cards they provided as image material.

Olaf Metzel, Cashflow and
Wallpiece by Karin Sanders at the foreground, Photo: (c) Bärbel Högner
Deutsche Bank Collection

Cashflow, Detail, Photo: (c) Bärbel Högner
Deutsche Bank Collection

Oscillating between functional technology and art installation, Heiner Blum’s work simultaneously demonstrates several alternative paths for art in the public space. The structural change within the bank has also radically transformed art’s standing there, placing it before new challenges. Today, the laptop and the Blackberry make it possible to work in a large collective office, at home, or on the train. New media and technologies equip the financial and art worlds with considerably greater mobility, making the banking business more than just more virtual and anonymous.

Behind the ibc’s natural stone facade, which was designed by Christoph Mäckler, nearly 3,000 people work in around 30,000 square meters of space in a transparent ambience defined by ultra-modern, interconnected technology. New office concepts designed for flexibility make the classical office suddenly seem out of date. In realistic terms, however, “Art in the Workplace” is often lacking the walls to hang works on. The bank is concentrating and reducing its architectural space, which is increasingly designed to be transparent, as in the ibc in Frankfurt.

Ina Weber, Welcome to the Club, Photo: (c) Bärbel Högner
Deutsche Bank Collection

Now, the recently published catalogue Art at the ibc shows how divergent artistic concepts and aesthetic approaches can be integrated into this changed working environment. With numerous texts, plates, and artist interviews, seven commissioned works conceived for the ibc are introduced that set standards in very different ways. Günter Förg’s window images, Karin Sander’s reflective wall pieces, Olaf Metzel’s Cashflow, a gigantic steel and glass sculpture suspended in space: from the atrium to the casino, which feature Hubert Kiecol’s text works Happy Proportions and Andreas Schulze’s painting series PBC, the catalogue invites readers on a stroll throughout the building. The fact that art, as everywhere in the bank, has to assert itself in the midst of stock listings, large-scale screens, flip charts, and other everyday objects in the ibc inspired the Berlin-based artist Ina Weber to create an unusual work. Not without irony, Weber juxtaposes the flexibility constantly being called for with a seemingly conservative element – tradition. In Welcome to the Club, she installed a clubroom in the classical English style with leather armchairs, fireplace, and library between the hydro-culture plants and see-through think tanks. Here, staff can relax or meet – free of worry, because the insufferable coffee rings have already been woven into the carpeting.

Hubert Kiecol, Gückliche Maße, Photo: (c) Bärbel Högner
Deutsche Bank Collection

The catalogue Art at the ibc costs 10 € and can be purchased online in our art shop.