The very obsessive world of Gregor Schneider

I had the most fantastic gallery experience for some time today, at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney.

A completely immersive, chilling and uncomfortable step into an artists obsession. When Greg Schnieder was 16 he exhibited his first solo show. Based on an abandoned apartment block in his home town of Rheydt, Germany, he has spent the next nineteen years reconfiguring and recreating it into a series of dreamlike installations, rooms within rooms within the gallery space. An ongoing artistic project that reimagines the space as a labyrinthine uncanny residential environment, and creepy with it.

The piece at AG:NSW is a partial reconstruction of his acclaimed Venice Biennale work Totes Haus U R (Dead house). Here the focus is the basement, where you enter through a steel door (maximum three at a time) into complete darkness, to stumble through concrete and wooden structures, facing strange corridors and even a the body of a dead child wrapped in plastic in the rafters.

Utterly the stuff of nightmares, especially as it smells so much like you expect a concrete basement to smell, full of damp and rot. An incredible experience then, to step back out into the warm white gallery and back amongst the regular artworks.

An incredible example of the power of experience.

The original apartment block in Rheydt

The original apartment block in Rheydt

The entrance to the AG:NSW piece (door on left)

The entrance to the AG:NSW piece (door on left)

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