Christoph Meier, Ute Müller, Robert Schwarz, Lukas Stopczynski
CHEZ NOUS, 2023
custom made thermo formed case containing three cassettes, an ashtray and a booklet
25 x 4,5 x 13,5 cm
limited edition of 200
designed by Boy Vereecken with Antoine Begon
recorded and mixed by Robert Schwarz
mastered by Cam Deas
CHEZ NOUS is the latest chapter in a series of walk-in sculptures that have temporarily functioned as artist-run bars, hosting concerts, performances and exhibitions in Los Angeles, Brussels and Vienna. Over the years Christoph Meier, Ute Müller, Robert Schwarz, and Lukas Stopczynski have created site-specific iterations of the Loos Bar (also known as the Kärntner Bar and the American Bar), in a variety of locations and materials. The Loos Bar, an architectural icon and a significant example of Austrian modernism, designed by Adolf Loos in 1908, is located in Vienna’s 1st district and measures just 27.36 m2.
From episode to episode, the artists have expanded their repertoire of cross-references and levels of abstraction. In all versions, the scaling of the original proportions along the given spatial structure led to modifications that had a decisive impact on the overall concept of each bar. From the value of the material to the pitch of the music to the quality of the service, the act of scaling was joyfully celebrated.
CHEZ NOUS is the 5th variation and much more than an audiovisual documentation of the previous iterations. Claiming to be a 1:1 model itself, CHEZ NOUS, in reference to Marcel Duchamp's Boîte-en-valise, becomes a site-independent intervention, a Bar in a Box. It features a 120-page booklet, one ashtray in the shape of the Loos Bar tables and three audio cassettes with 180 minutes of adventurous bar music. A selection of recordings of performances hosted, the original soundtrack of the Sad Hour, as well as commissioned works for piano.
It all started in a garage at the Mackey Apartments in Los Angeles, designed by Loos' former student Rudolph Schindler. During the artists' 2015 residency at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, they realised that the classic, elegant bar would fit perfectly into their backyard garage - only on a smaller scale. On a modest budget, mahogany became cardboard, glass became mosquito netting and the precious bar rail became a pool noodle. Even in this DIY version, the Viennese charm of the iconic original prevailed, and soon the LA art scene was drinking and sweating between the pressboard walls of LOS BAR. Two years later, the bar was rebuilt in the basement of the Etablissement d'en face in Brussels, using only reed for the interior. As a reference to the so-called Strohkoffer (engl. straw case), the temporary home of the Vienna Art Club in the actual basement of the Loos Bar from 1951 to 1953. As the basement of the Etablissement was 44% longer than the Loos Bar, the entire interior, including the speed at which the music was played, was stretched to the size of the room. Strohkoffer turned into STROOKOFFER, with a large bamboo trunk serving as the bar rail, complete with a hidden bong. They offered Stroh Rum from Austria and invented the Sad Hour, an 86-minute hour with 44% higher prices and very sad music.
In 2019, a former record store's facade in Vienna's 10th district appeared suspiciously Loos Bar-like. This gave rise to the idea of reviving the bar for a third time during the Wiener Festwochen. While geographically closer than ever to the original, this copy became the most abstract and visually alienated variation. The LAX BAR reduced architecture to its very essence and centred around a seemingly simple design that underlined the sheer impact of the material while at the same time rejecting the material opulence of Loos’s original version.
During the pandemic in 2021, the Vienna Museum of Applied Arts commissioned a fourth variation. RELAX used the facade of the Loos Bar as its starting point: three vending machines replaced the three doors of the well-known entrance portal. The atmosphere of the bar as a social space and a temporary counter-universe has disappeared. The self-serving machines were the final link to the bar's original function. The fridges in the vending machines were acoustically amplified to form an omnipresent body of sound in the otherwise empty room, which was only lit up by the bright fluorescent lights on the ceiling. credits
releases December 6, 2023 at Vienna Secession and Jannuary 26th, 2024 at Etablissement d'en Face, Brussels
→ ORDER HERE
custom made transparent, thermo-formed PET case with a cardboard reinforced cover,
custom made aluminum casted ashtray measuring approx. 8,5 x 1,5 x 5,5 cm,
booklet of 120 pages with numerous colored illustrations measuring 21 x 10 cm
and three audio cassettes:
Tape 1 - RECOLLECTION featuring Philipp Quehenberger, Michaela Kisling, Jim Brown, Rosa Anschütz, Bobby Would, Cantus Novus Wien, Robert Pawliczek, Albert Mayr, Dennis Tyfus, Jung An Tagen, Todd Lerew, Margaux Schwarz, and the hosts
(C60, recordings from selected performances hosted between 2015 and 2021)
Tape 2 - SAD HOUR by Robert Schwarz
(C80, the original soundtrack of the Sad Hour, celebrated at Strookoffer and Lax Bar in 2017 and 2019)
Tape 3 A side - ALONE TOGETHER IN A BAR by Philipp Quehenberger
Tape 3 B side - BAR MUSIC #1 by Marino Formenti - B side
(C40, commissioned piano works, 2022)
image credits by Gregor Titze