The Rheinau Project

Tilia residence, Rheinau, Switzerland

"It's about doing things with your own hands. About the pride of producing something yourself. And about how necessary it is for many residents to develop or remember their confidence in their own abilities."

Tanja Boukal, 2022

Tanja Boukal's "TUN" project won the Zurich Cantonal Building Authority's "Art in Construction" tender for the redesign of the Tilia residential home.

The institution was founded in 1867 by the canton of Zurich as a psychiatric institution in the former Rheinau monastery. During the 20th century, the stationary facilities were gradually reduced.

Today, part of the historic buildings houses the Tilia residential home, which provides a caring environment and a structured daily routine for 80 adult people with various disabilities - mental, psychological and/or physical. The goal is to create an organic and "natural" daily routine that corresponds to the "family structure" within each living group.

Boukal took the time to spend several weeks on site and accompany the people in their daily lives. Only after she had become part of the community did she capture in black and white photographs the wide range of activities and possibilities done by hands of the residents. The exact locations for her artistic interventions were determined in close consultation with those involved so that they could feel comfortable and respected in their familiar surroundings.

Possible locations for their works included the entrance portal, the rear façade of the building, the stairwell and the common room. However, the final decision on the locations was only made after Boukal's stay on site to ensure that the artworks could be harmoniously integrated into the surroundings and the everyday lives of the residents.

The realisation on the building will take place in spring 2024.


Why and How

As an artist, the goal of my project "Tun" is to focus on the independent actions of the residents…

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