Hansel & Gretel
An Installation conceived by Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron and Ai Weiwei
NEW YORK, USA, 7 June 2017 – After various collaborations throughout the last 15 years between Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, and artist/activist Ai Weiwei, the trio’s most recent work is entitled Hansel & Gretel. The large scale installation addresses the psychological impact of architecture and the politics of public space by creating a playful, strange, and eerie environment dominated by state-of-the-art surveillance technology such as drones, thermal cameras, and live video screens.
Hansel & Gretel becomes a dystopian forest of projected light. Here, the breadcrumbs of the famous fairy tale are not eaten by birds but correspond to digital crumbs that are gathered and stored, reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s poignant science-fiction Fahrenheit 451, where an omniscient state surveils its citizens from the skies (1953).
The installation, commissioned by Park Avenue Armory and curated by Tom Eccles and Hans-Ulrich Obrist is both an enticingly playful and unnerving experience of what it means to be constantly watched, and of public space without anonymity.
Ai Weiwei has described their collaborations as follows: “My experience of working with Jacques and Pierre is that we never think separately. It’s like three soldiers in the war—and that’s a good feeling: we have a constant understanding.”
On the collaboration with Ai Weiwei, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have stated: “Since we first met - some fifteen years ago - we have travelled together, worked together, and imagined and realized architecture and art projects together, including a master plan for the Chinese city of Jinhua, the Bird's Nest for the Olympic Games in Beijing, a bamboo installation at the Venice Biennale of 2008, porcelain in Jingdezhen, and the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2012. We have always enjoyed doing things together, discovering new things that we would not have experienced by ourselves otherwise. We therefore did not hesitate when we were offered the opportunity to make an installation piece in the Park Avenue Armory Drill Hall in New York. This is a city that has left its marks on all of us in many different ways, going back to the early years of our individual careers. We see the installation project in the Drill Hall as part of an open-ended, ongoing collaboration, as another opportunity to meet and marvel together.”
June 7-August 6, 2017
Tuesday – Thursday: 12:00pm – 8:00pm
Friday: 12:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 12:00pm – 7:00pm
The entrance to the installation is at
894 Lexington Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets.