Earlier on, the rooms were laid out like scattered or compact settlements with lanes and plazas in between. As in our first contribution for 14 Rooms, we opted for a stringent, linear arrangement of two parallel façades, painted white, each with a series of doors. The central structure wall of the Long Museum is encased with mirrors and optically vanishes into the overall installation, while two mirrored walls placed at the two narrow ends optically extend the white façades and the doors to infinity. Instead of 15 doors, there seem to be twice, three or four times as many. Fifteen is a chance number; it will be 16 in 2016 and possibly 100 in the year 2100.
The location and the city where this exhibition takes place are not relevant in this temporary installation; the white walls and doors could be anywhere – unlike the HERE and NOW of the encounter between artworks and visitors.
The temporary installation is therefore an extreme abstraction, almost like a typological sculpture – a lane as broad as a plaza, typical of a small town in South America or China or Europe. Only the wooden handles used by visitors to enter the room vary slightly from door to door – 15 different handles, digitally cut out of wood, minimally distinguishable at first sight but each somewhat different in feeling.
The specificity of the location is not perceived unless visitors look up at the ceiling where the Long Museums’s characteristic concrete vault structure reveals itself.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2015