Mocmoc is an appromimately 5.5-meter-high scuplture from the Swiss artist duo COM&COM (Johannes M. Hedinger and Markus Gossolt), which was unveiled on Setember 20, 2003 with a joyous children's festival on the central square of Romanshorn, Switzerland. Since then, Mocmoc has provoked a range of reactions and emotions.
The exhibition in the Galerie Olaf Stüber documents how this project, which began with an ordinary public art competition, brought public opinion to a boil, led to a special referendum election and spawned more than 250 reports in the international news media.
Alongside a number of products and objects relating to the Mocmoc project, the exhibition features the newly published book "Art, Public Space, Identity – Mocmoc, the Unloved Monument" (Niggli Publications, in German, with essays by Walter Ghrassskamp, Boris Groys and Wolfgang Ullrich) and a just-released documentary film (45 min) by Andreas Göldi.
In brief: the Swiss art team COM&COM (Johannes M. Hedinger and Markus Gossolt) were supposed to create a sculpture for the train station plaza in Romanshorn. But that was not enough for them. Their goal was to produce an identity-building founding myth for the town in tandem with a figure that would serve as a symbol and mascot for Romanshorn, and to establish this figure in the public conciousness through a series of different events.
Mocmoc thus took form as an invented "legend" supposedly unearthed by a historian in the town archive, as a monument in the plaza and as a panoramic mural in the underground walkway of the train station, as well as in a musical version of the story on CD, a Mocmoc song, several tie-in products (T-shirts, toys, candy) and various events (yearly children's festival, children's art contest, etc.)
The aesthetic and the strategy behind the figure and its story only seems at first glance to be directed primarily at children. An entire range of questions concerning contemporary art and society crytallize around Mocmoc: to whom does public space belong? Who gets to make decisions about the use of this space? How relevant can or should art be for society at large? To what extent is it permissible to invite or to instrumentalize public participation? What is a "public" sculpture? What means of expression are available for contemporary art? What is the appropriate location for contemporary art?