Danish artist Anders Ruhwald has transformed a vacant Detroit apartment building into a public art installation acts as a memorial. Titled Unit 1: 3583 Dubois, the site-specific, permanent art installation, is located inside a 1700 square foot apartment on Detroit’s Eastside where the interior is made of charred wood, steel, molten glass, and black ceramics. It is an immersive dreamlike space that unfolds gradually as the visitor moves through the six rooms.
Anders Ruhwald – a ceramic artist from Denmark who now works in the US – purchased the brick building in 2014 and has been working ever since to create the immersive installation, which is meant to honor the building’s history.
“The permanent installation is both a memorial and a proposal in which materials and forms coalesce to retell, and thus reclaim, the past, animate the present, and suggest a shifted future,” the artist said.
The space will seem as if it has been ravaged by fire, but on closer inspection, the visitor will realize that the interior is made out of carefully crafted wood, glass, steel, and ceramic. In this completely transformed apartment familiar objects and interior details will remain, but all of the surfaces will have been blackened through burning, glazing, and/or paint. It is an installation that engages both the visual and sensory as the smell and rich materiality of the installation reveals itself.
Going through the space feels like walking through a surreal cave where the space and the objects inside are at once recognizable and strange. It will pull you in and push you back in order to make you contemplate the effects of fire and consider its ramifications within the domestic and intimate. Overall the installation will aim to strike the precarious balance between the constructive and destructive forces of fire.