In this series of site-specific installations, entitled Habitat, artist Alois Kronschlaeger blurs the boundaries between museum exhibits and the area from which a viewer observes each exhibit. To create each piece, Kronschlaeger altered 27 constructed habitats, located in the Mammal Hall of the former Grand Rapids Public Museum, by interrupting the artificial landscapes with contemporary architecture.
He used plexiglass, carpeting, plaster, and ceiling tiles to transform the dioramas into modern works of art, often extending materials beyond the enclosed display areas. The results created a strange experience where visitors found themselves unusually close to the historic animals and their habitats, which are typically only found behind protective glass.
Kronschlaeger says, “I explored what happens in an environment when overlaying a geometric abstraction onto representational yet ‘virtual’ spaces. Through my intervention, the threshold was broken and I invited viewers to enter into the constructed landscape.”