Hayley Harding at Axis:
German artists Wolfgang Winter and Berthold Horbelt have worked together since 1992, creating art landmarks for public spaces all over the world. The artists work to reclaim lost public spaces and open people’s eyes to the fact that art is an important vehicle to increase the quality of life – not only to make the city more splendid. Winter/Horbelt’s light filled cratehouses use recycled, everyday objects to build functional spaces for shelter, meeting and entertainment.
The artists developed ‘Cratehouse for Castleford’ after visiting the town, meeting with local residents and learning about the culture and history of the place. The shipping containers reflect the industrial heritage of Castleford over many centuries and especially its important location on the confluence of the rivers Aire and Calder, meaning that it was central to the waterway transport system of England.
It was important to Winter/Horbelt that their becomes part of the life of a place and its people:
‘During our visits we saw the metal shipping containers that people of Castleford use as meeting points, something like small clubhouses. One of our first ideas was to change a little this kind of architecture, to create maybe a functional pavilion with sculptural and architectural qualities as a semi-public space where people can stay together in a pleasant way and have fun together. In Germany we call those places Vereinsheim (clubhouse)’. (Wolfgang Winter and Berthold Horbelt, May 2004)
Through their sculpture, Winter/Horbelt challenge the increasing global uniformity of public spaces that suppress individual town spirit. They have a talent for creating original objects outside of traditional art environments and it is fundamental to their work that they share their creativity with wider, non-gallery audiences and encourage engagement with creative practice. Winter/Horbelt are inspired by the identity of the town and the pride of its people and in return have offered the town a sculpture that encourages those who see it to consider the work, their town and their relationship to both.
Using available mass-produced materials, Winter/Horbelt work with familiar objects whose contribution to contemporary life is significant but taken for granted. The artwork is made from two shipping containers and 720 recycled bottle crates. When the sculpture is taken down the crates will go back into circulation.