The occupation of a site,
the significance of a site for the work of art
and the significance of the work for the site
»Take a good look at this square, my son. lt is not square. lt is rectangular and stretches from south to north.« (2)
This quotation from José Maria Arguedas makes reference to two essential aspects evident in the site-specific floor installations of Werner Haypeter. The first is the conscious, not purely rational but rather holistic perception of a place and its dimensional relationships and the formation of a complex of personal relationships with the place, which, in the case of the Mestizo, is achieved through orientation to the cardinal directions. When the observer perceives the orientation of a place with respect to the cardinal directions, he relates himself and his person into this spatial arrangement. Although Werner Haypeter is not concerned with the identification of cardinal directions within a room, he nevertheless forms a personal yet also abstract network of relationships with the site for which he creates a work. This he achieves largely on the basis of the dimensional relationships of the new surface areas themselves and of their relationship to the dimensions of the room for which they are created - to its visual and factual structure.
Locating something means identifying an object, determining its position. When we speak of "location" in the sense of an occupation of a motionless place, what we mean in essence is a process of searching for and finding the place within a prescribed area. With his floor installations, Haypeter identifies areas within a site. He reoccupies them, isolating them and removing them from their everyday context. Yet his "occupations" are never truly hermetic. The installations enclose or surround an area, yet because of their transparency and the fact that they occupy only the boundary zone between floor and the space above, the areas are not hermetically sealed off but instead remain visually recognisable and integrated in their everyday functional roles.
(2) José María Arguedas. Die tiefen Flüsse. Köln 1998, S. 14 (Titel der Originalausgabe: Los ríos profundos. erschienen 1958)
[Text: Thomas Köllhofer: Zwischenorte in: »orten« (Ausst.-Kat., Brückenturm / Galerie der Stadt Mainz), Mainz 2000, S. 27-28. Translated by John Southard]