The Robe - a communication sculpture, 1997 - 2016
Internet project and mixed media: Internet application, tent-like fabric structure, metal structure, items of clothing,
15 x 5 x 5 m
This exhibition of the Robe is devoted to who was killed by terrorists on March 13th in Grand Bassam, Côte divoire. It is a signal for her work, her attitude and for her as a human being, against hatred, prejudice, narrow-mindedness, racism, violence, war and for a positive world, where people want to live in peace with each other and want to learn and participate from each other. Henrike, who was head of the Goethe Institut in Abidjan, since 2013, was a master in building bridges through cultural intervention.Conecting people and cultures. This was important for Henrike and she did it passionately http://grohsinmind.com/
The Robe is an international, interdisciplinary and participatory project. The installation consists of a tent-like, accessible object made off a tough fabric. The overall structure measures 15 metres in height and has an area of 25 square metres. Items of clothing have been sewn onto the inside.
In order to realise the work people all over the world were contacted via the Internet and asked to send a personal item of clothing which for them was symbolic and meaningful and with which they associated a specific memory.
On top of this they were asked to supply a handwritten text describing their thoughts, experiences or associations in connection with the item of clothing or their participating in the project. All items of clothing were sewn on the inside of the Robe.
The assembled, increasingly overlapping objects concentrate the feelings, hopes, thoughts and personal experiences of a multitude of people from all over the world in the microcosm of the Robe.
The aim of the project was to let the work travel the whole world, becoming progressively denser and larger ? a web of thoughts and communication whose threads increasingly intersect, always connected with the real centre, the changing Robe.
In 1997 the work was shown for the first time at St. John?s church in Saarbruecken. In the sanctuary of the church 120 small benches with computer printouts were integrated in the ensemble. The printouts featured the documentary website of each participant and his contribution. There were also three computers with Internet access.
Visitors could walk through the suspended Robe. Upon entering it they found themselves surrounded by hundreds of items of clothing which, depending on how the light fell on them, seemed like shadowy outlines or were almost completely merged with the large garment shape.
The texts accompanying the items of clothing were suspended out of reach in the rear area of the installation. They could, however, be looked up online.
The online version of the project documents the growth process of the actual ?garment? on the one hand but also represents the immaterial character of the ?communication sculpture? on the other.
Examples of some of the participants:
Günter Wallraff, Germany
favourite pair of jeans and trousers worn for his job as picture journalist Hans Esser
Ole (Lama) Nydhal, Denmark:
a fragment of a pair of army trousers to represent the armed conflicts in the world
Ulrike Rosenbach, Germany:
the winner?s sash for Miss World 1969
I want to thank all the people who helped me realizing the project:
1996/97 I thank my Mother Edna Huppert for the conception of the cut, the cut itself and for arranging the sewing of the object, Mrs Waltraud Klein, Mrs Christel Horn, who sewed The Robe superintendet by Edna Huppert in the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, in Berlin and who also sewed all the pieces of clothing on to the Robe. Then I thank the former team of the Johannes-church, especially the former minister Pfarrer Jörg Metzinger, also I thank Mrs Matheis and Mr Müller who were working for the cultural ministery at that time for supporting my financially. I thank all the helpers who supported me, as well as all the participants in 1997.
2016 I want to thankMrs Maria Konuk and Mrs Akiko Okuda, who were sewing all the new articles of clothing on to the Robe and who also helped in building up the installation. I also thank Mr. Ullrich Behr and Mr Thomas Langhammer for installing the Installation as well as the company Güth (slater) for the great cooperation in raising the installation to its 16 meters.
Especially I thank the Minister Pfarrer Hoffmann and the team of the Johanneskirche, as well as Mr Bruno von Lutz, chairman of the Kirchenstiftung Zukunft St Johann (protestant church foundation, future St Johann), for the financial support to enable me to show this project again and also relaunch the entire website as well as starting a fresh call for participation. Thank you all!