Gregor Schneider continues the line of Exhibitions in the Stommeln Synagogue with his work “Hauptstraße 85 a”. Schneider is the first artist who dealed with the architecture of the entire building. Due to his intervention the original synagogue disappears and questions about the presence and absence of the religious space. Above all he gives a postal address to this “lost space” who did not have one before.
“[…]A number of Schneider’s major works consist in his making an existing place disappear by means of a duplication technique. The most well-known instance of this is Haus u r. Since 1985, in the building in Unterheydener Strasse 12 in Rheydt – the artist’s own native town and that of Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of the “Third Reich” – he has been constructing duplicates of rooms inside the rooms themselves. The duplication of the room has the effect of robbing the original room of its perceptibility by concealing it behind the additional layer of the room created by the installation. Yet the method also serves to make Schneider’s installation indistinguishable from the previously existing situation. To the same degree to which it makes a room disappear, Schneider’s work thus also devours itself.
[…] In 2007, the late American artist Max Neuhaus created the Time Piece Stommeln and, in his words, gave the empty “house of the spirit” a voice. In Schneider’s work, on the other hand, the synagogue – having been made to disappear through a renovation conforming to the norm – becomes a material analogy to the destroyed Jewish people and the silenced lamentations and prayers with which they appealed to a hidden god in this place. It is only in a hidden and inaccessible state, in relegation to impenetrable darkness, trapped behind a veil of frightening normality, deprived of cultural renewal, that the house of prayer can emerge once again as a house of prayer.