The Sammlung Goetz commissioned the artist Cyrill Lachauer to develop a new piece of work for the rooms in Haus der Kunst’s former air-raid shelter. In his multi-part production Cockaigne - I am not sea, I am not land, which includes films, videos, audio sequences, photographs, a slide and texts, Lachauer explores the most varied forms of land and landscape. “As an idea, land can signify home, it can give one roots, provide nourishment and it can lead to the idea of nationhood, inclusion and exclusion. One can own land or live with or on it; land can be taken away and destroyed, and one can deny others access to it. Land has the potential to be used and misused by many parties,” explains the artist.
To create the work, and in the tradition of American migrant workers, Lachauer traveled by freight train through North America; he investigated the question of land seizure and exploitation in South Africa; he danced with a queer park ranger in Yosemite National Park; and he accompanied an American friend, who was living illegally in Berlin, to the small village of Amerika in Saxony. “Together we dreamed of jumping on the trains to visit his mother in Colorado,” recalls Lachauer. “For this friend, home is becoming a distant dream. That’s why I set out on my own to draw a picture of the American landscape from trains.” Some of the thoughts, notes and essays Lachauer composed during these travels are available as complimentary copies or appear as wall texts in the solo exhibition Cyrill Lachauer. I am not sea, I am not land, which was organized by the Sammlung Goetz and presented in Haus der Kunst.
With the title of the new production Cockaigne - I am not sea, I am not land, the artist refers to the painting The Land of Cockaigne by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The work, which is part of the Bavarian State Painting Collections and is on view in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, was created as a paradisiacal alternative to the everyday harshness of rural life. Lachauer filmed it last year, and a zoom-in shot of the painting constitutes the start of his new installation and exhibition in the former air-raid shelter of Haus der Kunst.