Large Scale Picture

There is no place like home

With the work "There is no place like home" by the Canadian artist Ken Lum, museum in progress had, for the fifth time, realised a project for a large scale picture with the format 54 x 10m on the façade of the Kunsthalle Vienna, which at the same time marked the conclusion of the exhibition series. The temporary exhibition box situated at a central Vienna traffic node at Karlsplatz will once again became a temporary exhibition area in public space before the new Kunsthalle Vienna was reopened in the Museumsquartier. "There is no place like home" was on display from 1 December 2000 to the middle of January 2001.

In addition, the work could be seen in the form of three double-page spreads in the daily newspaper, DER STANDARD, and on INFOSCREEN projection surfaces, flat screens in underground stations and underground trains in Vienna. "There is no place like home" by Ken Lum had been realised in cooperation with the Canadian Embassy to the Republic of Austria, the Viennese Fund for Integration, the Austrian League of Human Rights and the sponsoring group artpool.

In the meantime "There is no place like home" has gone on a tour: It was shown as billboards in Innsbruck (co-operation with the Galerie im Taxispalais), at the Biennial in Venice 2001 and Off-Biennial in Ljubliana 2001, at Lofoten Art Festival (Norway) 09-06 – 08-07-2001, in co-operation with Gallery Brotfabrik and Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Le Mois de la Photo (The Month of Photography) in Montréal, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. Following a presentation in Brussels the work was also displayed in Warsaw and Duisburg.

Ken Lum has produced a many-sided, controversial and politically highly charged work which makes use of advertising imagery and linguistic devices. Clear, simple sentences are brought into connection with photos creating a variety of meanings and associations.

It is about concepts such as home-country, nationality and internationality which in political discussion are often highly emotionally laden and are not seldom used and abused by populists in order to maximise votes by deliberately portraying people as enemies because they are different, so as to stir up envy and finally to play people off against one another. Ken Lum handles the concept of home-country in a way which allows the pendulum of associations to swing in all conceivable directions – from blind hate towards the apparently strange and foreign in one's own country as far as the realisation that home can be anywhere that one settles down, without regard to one's original nationality, ethnic group or religion: "Home is where the heart is."