MICHAEL MEIER, CHRISTOPH FRANZ
Pressed in Iron Screws
Kirovsky Zavod, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Michael Meier & Christoph Franz focus on sites from the history of the Kirov district. The festival is located directly across the street from the Kirov Factory. Founded in 1789 as a foundry for cannonballs, the Kirov Factory later specialized mainly in the manufacture of rail vehicles, tractors and urban furniture. In 1917, strikes at this factory set in motion a series of events that ultimately led to the February Revolution. At that time, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was living in exile in Zurich with his wife and writing his paper «Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Capitalism». In April 1917, Lenin and 32 combatants set off from Zurich through the then German Empire and Scandinavia on a partially sealed train, on their way from exile back to his homeland in order to take advantage of the power vacuum that had arisen there.
In their project, Pressed in Iron Screws, the artists exchange a street light from Zurich with one from St. Petersburg. They start in Zurich, load a street light onto a van and travel with it to St. Petersburg. There they place the street light on the territory of the Kirov Factory and take a street light back to Zurich to install it on the Zurichberg.
Michael Meier & Christoph Franz work as an artist duo in Zurich. Places and their social, historical and political imprints are the starting point of their artistic practice. In careful, research-based processes, the artists appropriate these places and refer to them with conceptual works. Their thematic focus is on the city both as a concrete field of interaction and as a space for thought. Michael Meier & Christoph Franz deal with the processes of change in our built environment. They use specific approaches to negotiate the sediments of the urban, questioning its conventions and setting them in motion. In 2020 and 2012 they received the Promotion Prize of the Canton of Zurich, also in 2012 the Kiefer Hablitzel Prize, and in 2013 the Helvetia Art Prize.