Christoph Büchel

Swiss installation artist

Nothing is as it seems when it comes to the Swiss installation artist. This year’s Piccadilly Community Centre, in which everything from a charity shop to tango-dancing clubs and bell-ringing lessons found a home, proved a deft game of double bluff – the community centre was installed within the shell of Hauser & Wirth’s Piccadilly gallery, blurring the lines between real and staged scenarios, and questioning the politics of the space and David Cameron’s ‘big society’.

It was Büchel at his most commentariat, building on a reputation gained early on through the bewildering mazelike installation at Hauser & Wirth’s Coppermill space in 2007, investigating unpalatable sexual activities that might exist beneath the bourgeois veneer by inviting a Viennese swingers club to make its home at the Secession gallery and dissecting sectarian politics during last year’s Glasgow International festival. There are other artists whose practice also concentrates on constructed architecture, but it is surely Büchel’s that risks the most in its near destruction of the division between art

and life.

November 2013