My favourite piece
There is an important and long-serving authority at ZHdK: the display plinth. It has shaped the work of generations of aspiring artists, designers and educators. Yet their relationship with this entity is ambivalent. On the one hand, they feel attracted to the plinth because it ennobles their work. On the other hand, they distrust it. Mounting a work on a plinth means letting it go, sealing the completion of what may have been a long creative process and exposing one’s work to others’ gazes. This is what Stefan Kreysler, a close confidant of the plinth, observes. As a member of the Events Dossier, part of his job is to advise students, among other things, on how to present their work. He knows their favourite plinth (30 x 30 x 80 cm, white), its life expectancy (one to seven years) — and the secrets of this species. These include that plinths become invisible as soon as something is placed upon them. When their work is ready for display, students leave their studios, labs and workshops and head up to the Toni’s green rooftop, where the “plinth depot” is located. The high season is in May every year, when preparations for the degree show begin. Between shelves filled with plinths made of medium-density fibreboard, manufactured in the workshop of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, the students ask themselves: “What is good for my work?” Stefan Kreysler helps them answer this question, which concerns how best to present one’s art and design. “The plinth tells the viewer, ‘We are in the exhibition context,’” he says. This, however, confronts artists with a dilemma: “They find themselves in the exhibition context with their work, but this context involves questioning its very nature.” Thus students sometimes leave the “depot” without a plinth, but having learned quite a lot about exhibiting.