Bocken is an historic place and therefore also one of art. In its history, Bocken has already attracted and inspired dozens of artists. Works have been created, which on the one hand decorate the place and are exhibited here. On the other hand, ideas of numerous artists were born here.
At the heart of Bocken stands the architectural installation "Dorfplatz" (Village Square) by the Israeli artist Daniel Karavan. His commission was to create a space on the themes of "communication" and "flux" – as a metaphor for our ever-changing world.
In his characteristic geometric design idiom, Karavan has created a work that combines light and shadow, running water and the music of the wind, to stunning effect. Cubes and cuboids, triangles, pyramids and circles symbolise the energies of the Earth (the green spaces), water (the water steps), fire (the light channel) and air (the tower).
The tower also serves as a sundial. It emits a blue line of light running exactly from north to south. The water steps consist of twelve steps, symbolising the twelve hours of half a day. The diameter of the amphitheatre is based on the size of the inner courtyard of the Reitgebäude.
With "Palingenesis", the American artist Beverly Pepper created her first sculpture for a public space. The work consists of a 70-metre long curved wall made of 81 cast iron plates, in front of which stand seven steles or columns.
The word "palingenesis" comes from the Greek "palin" (=again) and "genesis" (= birth) and brings to mind the word “palindrome”: a word that has meaning whether you read it forwards or backwards.
In the same way, the wall and the columns can be seen from two sides: As you walk from left to right, the columns stand out more and more from the iron plates until, in the middle, they leave the wall and stand alone, forming their own radius – an "awakening". However, if you move from right to left, the work represents going back in time. It shows that the origins of all new things lie in something old.
"Boolean Bideo", a video sculpture by the Korean artist Nam June Paik, stands in the entrance hall to the Seminar Building. The work symbolises one of the most important principles of modern-day data transfer: binary code. It is also the inspiration behind the work’s name: "Bideo" is a combination of "binary" and "video".
The coloured tubes create a pattern that could be interpreted as the profile of a head. The screens inside it display the figures 0 and 1 in reference to the basis of binary logic. This permeates our entire lives – from daily life in the office to space travel – as Paik impressively suggests round the outer edge of the sculpture.
Paik's work demonstrates the creative potential of the interaction between art and technology and at the same time creates a tangible representation of communication itself.
The German sculptor, performance artist and film-maker Rebecca Horn created a kinetic sculpture for the Bocken Hotel and Conference Centre that interprets the eternal theme of erotic desire in a playful and poetic way.
Three bottles, filled with the artist's favourite wines, three corks and four wine glasses embody male and female features, and slide up and down like pistons. They perform a kind of surreal, drunken ballet in which "they want to touch each other but cannot", says Rebecca Horn.
The title is a reference to the Graces in Roman mythology: the goddesses who always and repeatedly beguile the observer with their charm.
Along with other artists in the new avant-garde at the end of the 1960s, the American minimalist Sol LeWitt turned the basic principles of art on their head. With his "Wall Drawings", he created a new genre. His works are inseparably connected with the architecture of the rooms in which they are exhibited.
So it is at Bocken: in the restaurant, the wall painting covers the entire east wall from end to end; in the central section, two circular pictures, "Tondos", have been positioned in the gables. The three-part work of art creates three virtual windows which draw the eye behind the walls and up to the hidden roof trusses, instead of out to the surrounding countryside.
At the edge of the field to the south-west of the main house stands the stone sculpture "Bleu de Vire" by the German artist Ulrich Rückriem.
His creations always start in the same way: an uncut lump of stone from a quarry, with a roughly geometric basic shape. He shapes this using the traditional methods of stone-masonry: splitting and cutting. He reassembles the resulting rectangular blocks and slabs in a new location to form a monolithic block. Each stage of the process remains visible and can be traced in the final work of art.
From a simple vocabulary, Rückriem develops a rich visual interplay between the solidity of the block, the picturesque appearance of the weathered outer crust and the hard sheen of the cut faces.