Jeppe Hein’s water pavilion Appearing Rooms is open to anyone and everyone at Freilager-Platz, on the Dreispitz in Basel—for several hours each day, Monday to Sunday, irrespective of the weather. This liquid sculpture, as Jeppe Hein refers to his work, changes form. It raises and lowers its walls made of water, granting or denying access. It invites you to cross from one water space into the next or just to stand and look through its water walls—at the surrounding square, the architecture, the people, the sky. It is a sculpture that lives not only from the way it is looked at from the outside, but also from the inside out; it can be experienced up close and from afar, in its inner and outer worlds.
It is difficult to fully fathom the programmed concept behind the rhythm or sequence followed by the changing water jets and walls. The important thing is to let yourself be surprised. Not to search for the plan, but to open yourself to the possibility of experience. As well as allowing this experience to be shared. To laugh, to talk, to look—and to come back. It is precisely this fine pendulum movement—between visual contemplation, utility, and the possibility of undergoing a personal and shared experience—that makes Jeppe Hein’s works truly special each time.
Public Art@Freilager-Platz is an initiative by the FHNW Academy of Art and Design Basel (HGK; Claudia Perren, Director), House of Electronic Arts Basel (HEK; Sabine Himmelsbach, Director), Kunsthaus Baselland (KHBL; Ines Goldbach, Director), and Interessengemeinschaft Freilagerplatz (IG, Chairman Peter Driessen). It pursues the shared aim of enlivening Freilagerplatz with alternating, publicly accessible art in order to sustainably increase its visitor appeal and strengthen the neighborhood. The plan is to present different outstanding artistic works each year, whose impact will be felt in the Basel-City and Basel-Country cantons as well as far beyond. The internationally renowned and socially committed artist Jeppe Hein kicks things off with his water feature Appearing Rooms. This project marks the first time that a fountain sculpture has been installed on the Freilager-Platz, offering residents in particular an invitation to stop by and enjoy their time.