At this conference, Shedhalle is represented by Anke Hoffmann & Yvonne Volkart, Curators (in a team).

Seestr. 395 / PF 771, CH – 8038 Zurich, Switzerland
Contact: Anke Hoffmann & Yvonne Volkart

art center (exclusively arts; of any type)
public institution (governed by public law), established in 1985 by a group of citizens and a group of professional artists

Shedhalle is an institution of contemporary art, in its structure comparable to an association. Shedhalle defines itself as a place where new forms of artistic and cultural practices – especially with regard to socio-political topics – can be tried out, produced, and presented within the framework of alternate thematic exhibitions. Shedhalle might be considered as having constituted and become, amidst other institutions, a niche allowing for multifaceted exhibitions. Shedhalle is also a cultural think tank permanently developing new and self-reflexive approaches to the production and representation of art. Shedhalle is a forum for artists, activists, curators, scientists, theoreticians, and students that permits and enables them to elucidate diverse topics in varying constellations. The present curators, Anke Hoffmann and Yvonne Volkart, mainly focus on group exhibitions and discussions, seeking new forms of politically-engaged aesthetics.

Shedhalle - Exhibition view - Im/Possible Community Winter 2009; group exhibition, Photo: Susi Bodmer

Decision-making: Shedhalle is an association and as such has a number of members and a board. The board consists of 8 members responsible for the structure of Shedhalle, thus laying the groundwork for the programming concept. The team consists of a managing director and a bookkeeper with an unlimited employment, and a curatorial team that changes every 3-4 years. Presently, Shedhalle has a team of two curators, Anke Hoffmann and Yvonne Volkart, in charge for a period of three years. It is the curators who are responsible for the programming of Shedhalle and their cultural production, but the board also invites cultural producers to be guest curators.

Organizational openness: With respect to our programming, we usually write a concept paper and spread it more or less widely to artists, curators, and people in general whom we appreciate or who we think are interested in participating or making recommendations. When inviting artists to participate, we always give them the chance to adapt an existing work or to create something new. Talking about our ideas can also result in co-operation with other institutions.

Venue/s / resources:
Shedhalle is a former industrial hall with a typical shed roof, which gives the art space its name. Not much new architecture has been installed in the hall.
The hall is in total 744 m2 with no stable walls, but two fixed rooms and one fixed black room. Currently, we also have 3 semi-fixed cubes in the hall. Besides these spaces, the hall has a separate two-floor open office built in, with up to 6 working places and a kitchen. The office space is open to the hall, so there are no separated rooms in the hall.
The hall is situated within a bigger former industrial complex, so that the floor is shared with artists’ ateliers and rehearsal rooms. The whole space of Rote Fabrik, the name given in the eighties to the whole cultural complex, lies on the border of the city of Zurich and just by the lake shore.
The hall of Shedhalle is used for exhibitions, seminars, workshops, and sometimes concerts and performances. This is also the space lent to other cultural producers.
There is a plan.

Shedhalle - Im/Possible Community Winter 2009; with artist group proxy working in the exhibition as part of their project, Photo: Susi Bodmer

Budget: more than €300,000 and less than €500,000 (including wages for 320% employment percentage, i.e. 3.2 persons statistically)

Co-productions: As we have been at Shedhalle for one and a half years, we have not yet had many cooperations. We do cooperate with the local Universities of Arts (we take care of organizational and technical requirements, the University pays for fees, food, and guest organization) and with the local theater (we share the costs and work on a 50/50 basis). Content development is shared by both institutions, although the intensity varies from project to project.

Shedhalle has 2 ways of working with producers from outside:

  1. We host the venue and the technical requirements; in this case, we hire it out for money and help in return with providing information and press organization.
  2. Shedhalle invites a group of cultural producers to curate a show/event/workshop etc. Shedhalle provides the guest curators with a personal fee and production budget and administrative and curatorial help regarding press information, fundraising and organization.

Services: We have no special services, but occasionally we lend our technical equipment for free to politically-engaged institutions (e.g. Sans Papiers) and to artists on low incomes. Furthermore, almost all events are for free, so artists and people on low incomes can participate in Shedhalle productions.

Shedhalle - Complaints Choir, Performance / Project Winter 2010, Photo: Thomas Rüst

International collaboration: International collaboration is very important for us. We mostly work with international artists, galleries, and cultural producers in general. Unfortunately, until now we have not been able to initiate any international collaborations with other art institutions. Although we have made contacts, our financial circumstances have precluded us realizing any cooperation as yet.

Participation: Artist–audience conversations in solo presentations or symposia with other speakers, such as scientists or activists; workshops in cooperation with other institutions; community projects with citizens; projects with students and dialogs with audience.

Gathering citizens: In the past, Shedhalle went through a very open, socially-engaged period, linking people from activist campaigns with the arts in the sense of social art. At present we are focusing on the idea of a broad cultural debate, and as such we include public debates and actions rather on a theoretical level of discourse.

Neighborhood: Our immediate neighborhood is the Rote Fabrik, an autonomous center on the edge of Zurich in which our venue resides. Together with Rote Fabrik, we have organized events such as the 30th anniversary celebration of the premises or a complaints choir in the streets of Zurich (see the theater cooperation), when we also extended a broad invitation to people from the adjacent neighborhood, but we do not co-operate on any wider basis. It is primarily a family and mixed residential neighborhood without any special social features.

Municipality: Until now, we have had a very good relationship. We have no restrictions on programming, numbers of entries, or similar.

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