ArtWall, 2011

Deutsche Bank headquarters, Frankfort on the Main, Germany

For the past 30 years, Deutsche Bank has collected works of young artists and displayed them throughout their headquarter building — not just on the top management floors. The idea behind this undertaking is to bring art as a catalyst of change and innovation directly to the people. But as the office rooms are not open to the public and can only be viewed on guided tours of the premises, outsiders generally know very little about the works of art on display here. An interactive gallery wall was thus installed in the public foyer to give visitors of the headquarters in Frankfurt an overview of the collection.

The building’s 60 floors are each dedicated to one artist, a select group including Tobias Reh­berger, Neo Rauch and Shilpa Gupta. The floor-based concept is reflected by the Art Wall: 60 screens are arranged on a matrix measuring 5 x 2.40 m, each presenting the work of one artist. Images of the paintings, photographs or drawings on display are interspersed with information like the name and nationality of the artist in a spatial choreography.

When a visitor selects an artist on the interface in front of the ArtWall, the entire media surface turns into a presentation for their work. First a portrait of the artist and their signature appear; then four monitors display biographical details and the location of the artworks in the building.

Streaks of color running behind the title of an artwork both animate across the screens. The streaks result from a scan line that moves across the presented work, the composition of horizontal lines changing as the scan progresses. Once the whole picture has been scanned, the streaks of color merge to form the whole picture on a screen next to the information about the respective work. Further works by the same artist follow until the visitor selects a different artist or returns to the overview.

The installation provides an overview of the works of art on display in the building and is the starting point for guided tours through the collection. Alongside its functional purpose, the ArtWall also has an expansive effect on the foyer: due to the size of the installation the colors of the works on display–i.e. the work of the respective artist–change the ambience of the entrance area to the exhibition and conference spaces.

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