Stefan Dornbusch – Zimmer im Freien / Blaue Insel (Outdoor Room / The Blue Island) (2011)

IMG_2175The idea of an outdoor room is a tempting… at least on warm summer days.  On the outskirts of the municipality of Drögenbostel, the artist and architect Stefan Dornbusch, who was born in Würzburg in 1963 and now lives in Berlin, has realized his vision of outdoor living. Directly on the main road between Neuenkirchen and Visselhövede, Dornbusch’s installation “Zimmer im Freien / Blaue Insel” (2011) invites you to settle down on the uniformly blue-painted benches and chairs on a wooden platform. The installation includes flower decorations in the form of pansies planted in a wash-basin  as well as an imposing juniper both of which could also be substituted by a Christmas tree in Advent. When the darkness falls, a standard street lamp provides for ambient lighting. And even a “Sofa picture” is available. Attached to a fully galvanized metal rod, the large photo shows exactly the natural landscape, which the installation conceals. Nature and its representation merge here. So far so good…were there not a hunting perch, which gives the initially friendly installation a more obvious social criticism. The upper-middle class idyll obviously wants to be defended against intruders from the outside. In fact, Stefan Dornbusch noticed in his research of the region that the landscape of hunters’ perches is just as well shaped/informed as military radar systems. And it was also observed in the private sphere: neighbors, strangers and visitors are targeted by those who have established themselves in their sometimes narrow-mindedness. What this initially so light-hearted work ends up denounces is the mentality spread in the German province of a seemingly self-sufficient, fragile, “We”-community, “protected” by the observation and exclusion of the external.