The Kunst-Labor-2 Museum in Munich is a one-of-a-kind venue exhibiting site-specific installations from world-renowned urban contemporary artists. The project began in 2018 when the Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA) organized a temporary urban art exhibition inside the vacant Tengelmann complex.
This building was demolished in 2019, and, from its debris, the Kunst-Labor project rose like a phoenix, finding its second, and this time permanent, home inside the former Public Health Center at the beginning of Dachauer Straße. The goal is still to promote art and culture in a unique way, inviting visitors to explore the various site-specific, walk-in installations displayed.
The Kunst-Labor-2 Museum features works from local and international artists designed to interact with the interior space of the building. Each room hosts one installation, and each installation is carefully curated to create a unique atmosphere, allowing visitors to step into the artist’s creative universe.
The Kunst-Labor-2 Museum is a great place to experience the energy of the urban art world. Created on actual walls (as opposed to on canvases), the artworks are site-inspired -as is often the case in the streets. Drawing inspiration from the former function of the gigantic building, several artists worked on health-related themes like mental health issues or the pandemic.
From interactive light and sound installations to sculptures made from recycled materials, the Kunst-Labor-2 Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in urban contemporary art.
Here are the ten installations I liked the most –what are yours?
Site-Specific Installation by Street Artist Octavi Serra at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
Octavi Serra is an artist living in Barcelona who has been developing his work in urban art and photography for more than ten years. He is best known for being editor-in-chief of the publication “The Posttraumatic,” a self-published newspaper critical of conventional media. He created two installations for Kunst-Labor-2: the anamorphic mural above, which is the very first work you’ll see stepping into the museum, and an actual Escape Room, with a list of twelve “rules and hints for surviving.”
“Memories are a hell of a drug” by Street Artist Hera at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
Jasmin Siddiqui (aka Hera, from the German street art duo Herakut) created an artistic translation of her own psychotherapy. Stepping into “tHERApie raum 01” (gotta love the sign on the door!), we meet Dr. Ratki and Patient H. at the end of a session. The patient (a closed-shaped head) suffers from high-sensitivity, especially from seeing too much and giving too much space to what she sees.
“Telework” by Street Artist Isaac Cordal at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
“A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly by the chain of their own ideas… on the soft fiber of the brain is founded the unshakable base of the soundest of empires.”Michael Foucault
Isaac Cordal‘s sympathetic sculptures are placed in locations that quickly open doors to other worlds. The artist arranges his figures in zoomed-in life scenes of the contemporary human being, offering a critical look at the collateral effects of our evolution, particularly the absurdity of human existence and our devalued relation with nature. Inside his room at Kunst-Labor-2, Isaac Cordal froze a scene in which men and women are isolated -a fragment of their caged routine we empathize with.
Site-Specific Installation by Graffiti Artist Zeus at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
3D Graffiti pioneer Dean ZEUS Colman was a prolific writer already as a teen. He first hit the streets of London in 1983 and has dedicated himself to the art of typography ever since. The piece at Kunst-Labor-2 is part of his ongoing 3D Graffiti series.
“The leaning tower of pizza” by Contemporary Artist Matthias Edlinger at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
Matthias Edlinger is a contemporary artist from Germany, and one of his favorite materials is discarded cardboard. At Kunst-Labor-2, he built a leaning tower of pizza based on the exact angle of the tower of Pisa. The precarious balance recalls the one between the warm box promising delicious content and the empty cartons piling up in the streets of our cities.
I loved the artist’s comment, “No creative meeting without pizza” ;)
Site-Specific Installation by Munich Art Collective CRU:ZFX at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
CRU:ZFX is a two-person artist collective that came together in 2011 to create three-dimensional artworks that combine their different backgrounds, graffiti, and 3D graphics. At Kunst-Labor-2, their street gang of pigeons is throwing a never-ending party. Always had a thing for artists seeing pigeons as the ultimate urbanite ;)
Site-Specific Installation by Street Artist Faith47 at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
Liberty Du, widely known as Faith XLVII, is a South African contemporary artist who started as a graffiti writer in 1997. She has painted powerful murals worldwide, and in the latest years, her focus has become creating intimate, site-specific installations.
“The wound is where light enters” by Street Artist Caratoes at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
Caratoes is a nomadic artist whose roots go back to Belgium and Hong Kong. At Kunst-Labor-2, she interpreted the health theme through a multicultural symbol of rebirth, collective healing, and the processing of trauma: the deity of the dragon, which can always be felt in her latest works.
“Egosnake” by Street Artist Biancoshock at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
Biancoshock’s urban installations establish a space for reflection for those who stumble upon them in their day-to-day routine. At Kunst-Labor-2, Biancoshock recreated the iconic game “Snake” using the old X-Ray he found in the former Public Health Center archives. He arranged them as a snake shaping the word EGO (Egoism of Vaccine Opponents).
The X-Ray has become a symbol of the current pandemic situation, as the first medical test to identify pneumonia. From this angle, the fact that the “monster” is made up of individual images shows that we could proceed toward the end of the game only if we act together.
“Planet B” by Stencil Artist Lapiz at Kunst-Labor-2 Museum
The last two artworks before the exit are by stencil artist Lapiz, who is also the person who recommended me to visit Kunst-Labor-2 Museum in Munich ;)
The larger is “Planet B”, in which a man sits blissfully in a lounge chair while escaping into the digital world. All around him, different objects -the rose, the almond milk, the Amazon carton- hint at his questionable ecological footprint.
Kunst-Labor-2: Art Gallery and Restaurant
Finally, Kunst-Labor-2 is also known for its in-house restaurant AMARi and an art gallery hosting temporary exhibitions of urban contemporary artists.
Read also: Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Munich