Artwork of the month January

Barbara Bühler, Sitzungs- und Konferenzzimmer in Liechtenstein, 2001

Barbara Bühler

* 1968 in Eschen, Liechtenstein, lives and works in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, and Basel, Switzerland

Sitzungs- und Konferenzzimmer in Liechtenstein, 2001

Colour photograph, two parts
Image size: 100 x 71 cm
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz / donated by the artist


Eight leather upholstered chrome steel chairs are arranged around a square table. A pair of images with almost identical subjects. The same central perspective in both photographs captures the austere room with great precision and documentary character. In the first image, all of the chairs are arranged accurately and equally spaced around the empty table. The room appears tidy and quiet, with the modern glass façade flooding it with daylight. The glass establishes a link to the outside world but also seems to act as a protective membrane creating a contrast to the noise and motion of the outside world and thus forming the basis for confidential talks.

As with a picture puzzle, viewers try to spot the differences between the second image and the first. The changes are minimal but not insignificant. The chairs are slightly angled and a bit further away from the table, no longer perfectly in line with the tabletop. Time has passed. The slightly changed daylight is not the only evidence of this. We now see used coffee cups and glasses for water on the table along with a glass bowl with individually wrapped pastries. These are all traces of something that has taken place between the two photographs. A conversation, negotiations. An agreement has been reached, or not. Comparing, the eye of the beholder scans the images for clues, as an inspector scans a crime scene.

Sitzungs- und Konferenzzimmer in Liechtenstein (Meeting and Conference Rooms in Liechtenstein) is the title of the series of works shot by Barbara Bühler in 2001. In each case, two large-format photographs depict different conference rooms in Liechtenstein banks, foundations or tax consultancies before and after a meeting. The artist is interested in a third image: the invisible one. What has taken place between the two photographs? She writes: "The small changes on these images stand for the big changes of the outside. After a couple of decades where money trading in Liechtenstein was booming, the place itself has changed. While the rooms themselves remain almost untouched, they changed the whole country dramatically."[1]

Henrik Utermöhle


"I feel like a culprit, a voyeur, and then I'm the police, processing the crime scene."

Barbara Bühler


[1] (accessed on 21/12/2021).

<b>Barbara Bühler, Sitzungs- und Konferenzzimmer in Liechtenstein, 2001</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.