A lighthouse for Lampedusa! @ Karlskirche Kassel

May 25 – September 23, 2017

Since 2007 I have been working artistically on the topic of flight & migration to Europe. I was invited to a solo exhibition in Italy in 2007, which was realized in Reggio Emilia in 2008. For this exhibition I developed my project Ein Leuchtturm für Lampedusa! (A Lighthouse for Lampedusa!), which has been realized several times as a ‘model sketch’ but not yet completely: I intend to erect a lighthouse on the southernmost Italian island, which on the one hand will be able to give orientation visible from afar – where the saving land is – and which on its ground floor will house a cultural center for the people living on Lampedusa. A place of exchange and mutual learning is to be created here, which at the same time sends out a symbolic ‘welcome sign’: The project calls for a fundamental change towards a humanitarian approach in European refugee policy. The realisation would be an exemplary signal: Lampedusa is not hiding and tries to tackle the challenges of migration self-confidently.
For the exhibition Luther and the Avant-garde in the Karlskirche Kassel, I transform the church tower into a lighthouse. To do this, I clad the tower with material from refugee boats that stranded in Sicily. I weave former rubber dinghies cut into strips into galvanised construction steel mats. Additionally the short texts “Melilla, Lampedusa, Lesbos is here” and “legal escape routes to Europe” are printed on comparable material and woven in the same way. The lamp of the lighthouse consists of an approx. 60-75 cm high shining and blinking frieze on the whole width of the four sides of the tower. The lamp is so bright that its glow is also visible during the day. I very much hope that we will succeed in erecting a lighthouse ‘for us’ and would be delighted to contribute to a lively discussion on central questions of our social constitution – such as flight, human rights or international solidarity.

Thomas Kilpper
December 2016

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