13.09 - 03.11.2024

ProtoZone 16

15.11 - 12.01.2025

ProtoZone 17


Shedhalle on the premises of Rote Fabrik

Rote Fabrik was built in 1892 as a mechanical silk weaving mill. As was usual for industrial buildings of the time, sawtooth roofs (so-called shed roofs according to the English shed patent) provided the necessary daylight for the production halls.

After several changes of ownership* and temporary vacancies, the city of Zurich acquired Rote Fabrik in 1972 with the plan to widen the adjacent Seestrasse after demolition of the buildings. However, the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Democratic Party successfully intervened against these plans with a popular initiative. The factory was to be preserved. In 1977, the voters commissioned the city council to draw up a proposal for the use of the Rote Fabrik as a cultural and leisure center. Three years later, youth unrest accelerated the creation of the alternative cultural center “Rote Fabrik”.
The exhibition space Shedhalle was founded in 1985 by Trakt B, the association of artists with studios in the Rote Fabrik, which was founded in 1982. As local artists they were underrepresented in the established art system. By winning the vote for the Rote Fabrik as a cultural centre at the end of 1987, the city made independence a condition, which is why the Shedhalle Association was founded in the spring of 1988 and established permanent positions for curators and management.



At the beginning of 1994 there was a fundamental revision of the programmatic concept of Shedhalle. The overriding goal of this revision was to open the program to more unconventional forms of art education and to interdisciplinary cooperation with other social and scientific organizations.

In order to do justice to this goal, the team was to be composed of staff members who had already worked at the interface between art, discursive procedures and political commitment. Within the framework of a communicative and egalitarian working philosophy, the curatorial team was involved in operational matters and the management in curatorial matters. Furthermore, the curatorial team was staffed with two to three curators of equal standing working collectively.


Curatorial Practice

In order to pave the way for a different exhibition practice, Shedhalle had to become a place where not only the products but also their working and exchange relationships in which they are created are shown. This implied that the examination of the political conditions and circumstances of art production and reception became an integral part of the work in Shedhalle.

The aim was to examine the conventional concept of art and to counter it with alternatives. Thus, the exhibition “Nature™” (1995) was staged as a sales fair where artistic, social and political projects – which emancipatorily deal with so-called New Technologies – could be presented. Or in a project on pornography and prostitution, “Gewerbeschein Künstlerin” (1995), which was dedicated to the connection between commercial advertising strategies and pornography/prostitution as well as the examination of these topics within the “operating system art”. During the project “8 Wochen Klausur” (1994), the Shedhalle became the workplace for a group of artists/activists who became involved in Zurich’s drug policy with two projects. In this context, art should make effective contributions to current issues and not isolate itself from any social and political reality.
Shedhalle succeeded in attracting great international attention with its program and became an important reference point for an experimental, socio-critical, contemporary art practice.

Shedhalle and Rote Fabrik have always been places for processes that have bundled the city’s potential to enable new artistic formats as well as social forms. With the new artistic orientation 2020-2025, the Shedhalle is to become a space for process-based art in Zurich and Switzerland.


Previous Curators

and Guest Curators
(1985 – 1986 changing each exhibition)

Luigi Kurmann
(1986 – 1987)

Harm Lux
(1988 – 1993)

Renate Lorenz
(1994 – 1997)

Sylvia Kafehsy
(1994 – 1997)

Marion von Osten
(1996 – 1998)

Ursula Biemann
(1995 – 1998)

Justin Hoffmann
(1997 – 2000)

Elke aus dem Moore
(1999 – 2002)

Frederikke Hansen
(2000 – 2004)

Sønke Gau
(2004 – 2009)

Katharina Schlieben
(2004 – 2009)

Anke Hoffmann
(2009 – 2012)

Yvonne Volkart
(2009 – 2012)

Can Gülcü
(2012 – 2014)

Katharina Morawek
(2012 – 2017)

Egija Inzule

Annette Amberg
(2017 – 2018)

Paolo Do
(2017 – 2018)

Salvatore Lacagnina
(2017 – 2018)

Adriana Lara
(2017 – 2018)

Mirjam Bayerdörfer

Franz Krähenbühl

A trip from the 80s to today…

For the archive of Shedhalle, a cooperation with the Swiss Social Archive in Zurich was agreed upon. The archive holdings will be successively digitised and transferred to the Social Archive over the next few years.

Shedhalle – History