Skulpture Projekte Münster 2017

The history of the Skulptur Projekte is closely linked to the idea of creating a public not only with but also for art. The exhibition thus differs from many projects in the public space since the late 1990s where the focus has been on issues of social and economic urban development. The Skulptur Projekte were initiated in 1977 by Klaus Bußmann, at the time the custodian and later the director of the Westfälisches Landesmuseum, and Kasper König, who since that time has held the position of chief curator for every edition of the exhibition in teams of changing constellations. A public controversy over George Rickey’s kinetic sculpture Drei rotierende Quadrate / Three Squares Gyratory, erected in Münster in 1975, preceded the first Skulptur Projekte. In deliberate contrast to the voices in town that had loudly demonized Rickey’s aesthetic postulation, the Skulptur Projekte offered a kind of do-it-yourself programme enabling a broad public to experience and acquaint itself with modern sculpture on an everyday basis. Even if the circumstances are meanwhile fundamentally different and – since 1997 at the latest – the city of Münster has discovered the exhibition for itself as a “unique selling point”, the Skulptur Projekte still clearly bear the stamp of their controversial origins.

In fact, the realization of the exhibition itself conveys a political message: with the aid of public funds, the Skulptur Projekte define the public space as a heterogeneous sphere that is indispensable for sociocultural co-existence and must not be subordinated to economic interests. The support the exhibition receives from the city of Münster, the Landschaftverband Westfalen-Lippe, the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Sparkassen- Finanzgruppe and numerous other partners is given with full respect for this fundamental autonomy.

Münster as a drilling platform

The generous rhythm of the show’s realization – at ten-year intervals – distin- guishes the Skulptur Projekte clearly from other major international exhibitions. From the curatorial point of view, the renown of this decennial, which has grown continually over the decades, goes hand in hand with great responsibility, but also with great freedom. The exhibition’s broad impact and the unchanging spatial context – the city of Münster as the venue but also as an experienced cooperation partner – permit uncompromised drilling into the depths.

Since 1977, the Skulptur Projekte have sent out invitations of an initially non-committal nature to a number of artists, whose continual visits for several days at a time form the point of departure for the exhibition’s development. Their project proposals are discussed, and the profile of the respective edition of the Skulptur Projekte only crystallizes as the works come to realization – with contours that often prove to be far more distinct in retrospect than they look during the development process. As a kind of long-term study, each edition mirrors a multi- faceted process of negotiation with the city of Münster as well as with important artistic and societal issues of its time. Regardless of the fact that many of the works remain in the city, the exhibitions themselves are always temporary in na- ture. In the exhibition title, both the word Skulptur and the word Projekte have thus retained their legitimacy to this day.

From-finding as a process

This openness to process is also strongly reflected in the exhibition’s visual communication concept by Urs Lehni and Lex Trüb. That concept calls for the combination of motifs drawn from the exhibition context with elements from drawings by the Swedish artist Samuel Nyholm (Sany). The graphics and typeface defy the conventions of a strict corporate identity: rather than launching a brand claim, the design clearly assumes a role as an accomplice and valuable counterpart for the overall exhibition development. In keeping with the basic democratic principle of the Skulptur Projekte, the jointly developed publication concept defines the catalogue as a wieldy book of magazine-like character and affordable for all.

Rear Window

In any good detective story, there is always another agenda besides the brilliantly staged plot – for example Hitchcock’s Rear Window of 1954, which is devoted to the subject of voyeurism. In similar manner, the issue of the mechanisms, manifestations and impacts of digitalization and globalization gives the fifth edition of the Skulptur Projekte its cohesiveness on a second, underlying level. And it is this issue that serves as an imaginary guideline for all curatorial decisions.

The publication series entitled Out of … published in the months leading up to the exhibition represents one platform for these deliberations. Each of the three issues takes as its point of departure a concept fundamentally linked with the experience of sculpture and projects in the public space: body, time and place. Through the virtua- lization and rapid acceleration of communication and trade routes, these concepts are becoming ever less distinct – to the point of possible dissolution: Out of Body, Out of Time, Out of Place.

Embodiment and disappearance

The 2017 exhibition differs from previous editions of the Skulptur Projekte in that it is giving more scope to performative approaches. This interest arises
on the one hand from the current practices of many artists, on the other from cultural-theoretical deliberations: the disappearance of the body in the digital sphere makes it something deserving of special attention. A performative situation defines the body as the simultaneous subject and object of perception and creates a relationship between it, as “material”, and the built environment. The retention of the live arts beyond the exhibition’s duration of seventeen weeks while at the same time avoiding a festival-like character poses a challenge we are meeting with a wide spectrum of different formats. Artists such as Alexandra Pirici, Xavier le Roy in collaboration with Scarlett Yu, or the Gintersdorfer/Klaßen group each go their own route: one is involving numerous inhabitants of Münster, another is gi- ving instructions for action to selected dancers, the third subscribes to ongoing collaboration with a large network of distinctive performance stars.

Storing Time, Falling Out of Time

The relationship between sculpture and time forms a further conceptual thread of the exhibition. Over the years since 1977, thirty-five sculptures have remained in Münster following the respective edition of the Skulptur Projekte. Under the hea- ding Public Collection, all of the important data on these sculptures have a place in our communication. Fragile installations such as Dan Graham’s pavilion Oktogon für Münster / Octagon for Münster (1997) and Rebecca Horn’s installation Das ge- genläufige Konzert / Concert in Reverse (1987/1997), will be re-erected or made more easily accessible for the 2017 programme. Yet the discourse on longevity is also mirrored in a number of current works: Lara Favaretto will continue Momentary Monuments (ongoing since 2009) in Münster, a series involving the presentation of a monolithic stone sculpture and its subsequent destruction; Justin Matherly will take a sculptural approach to the critical penetration of Nietzsche’s aphorism of the eternal return of the ever-same. A symposium entitled Nothing Permanent: Sculptures and Cities (WT), to be presented in cooperation with the Henry Moore Institute from 13 to 15 September 2017, will address – among other things – the question as to whether sculptures and monuments lose their validity in the public space, and if so under what conditions.

Engaged Leg, Free Leg

The 2017 Skulptur Projekte will use a wide radius. A number of the project sites will be located four to five kilometres from the city centre, allowing visitors to experience Münster outside its touristic picture-book core. Structurally speaking, the Theater im Pumpenhaus and the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur will hold central positions within the exhibition topography distributed generously around the town.

In the Theater im Pumpenhaus we have deliberately chosen an institution from the area of the performing arts to cooperate with, but one that will be used by the Skulptur Projekte in a way entirely different from usual. Rather than hosting a series of guest performers, the stage will be at the exclusive disposal of the Gintersdorfer/Klaßen group for the entire duration of the exhibition. The group will use it to present regular performances, but also to develop a new piece enti- tled Kabuki Noir Münster. The courtyard of the theatre – which under the direction of Ludger Schnieder has already carved out a firm place for itself in Münster’s culture scene – will moreover provide the setting for a large fire by the artist Aram Bartholl at which, with the aid of the “campfire-bread method”, visitors can charge their cell phones. There will be a restaurant area, and pupils from Aernout Mik’s class at the Münster art academy will moreover offer an absurd-style per- formative art mediation programme. Furnished with these “services”, the Pumpenhaus will function as an alternative vis-à-vis to the museum.

The Perforated Museum

The Westfälisches Landesmuseum, meanwhile known as the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kul- tur, organizes the Skulptur Projekte and has traditionally been closely linked to the exhibition. In every edition since 1977, the relationship between the institution and the urban outdoor space has been weighted differently. For the coming show, the new museum building opened at the end of 2014 poses an additional challenge for the Skulptur Projekte. The design by Staab Architekten of Berlin emphasizes the institution’s public character by way of a foyer on the ground level. This hall was designed not only to serve as an entrance to the collection, but also to connect the cathedral forecourt and the city centre. At the same time, the high, light-flooded space and the visitor routing on the upper floors emphasize the building’s prestige functions. This situation raises questions about how the museum conceives of itself: Is it really a public place? What kind of publicness does it create? What status is assigned to the traditional museum tasks of collection and research, and what role does art play as an expression of a certain lifestyle?

Three spatial situations in the museum have been selected as project sites: the atrium in the old building, the foyer of the new building, and a section of the exhibition space on the upper level. The artists working in the museum will ‘inscribe’ themselves in these sites with their works, thus reflecting on the respective structural circumstances: Gregor Schneider will transform the temporary exhibition area into a private flat accessible only by way of an emergency exit; Nora Schultz will dim the light in the foyer and, with the aid of clumsy drone images, perforate the perception perspectives offered by the architecture.

The same everywhere, but different

Site specificity has always played a key role in the Skulptur Projekte. Particularly in the first two exhibitions of 1977 and 1987, the artists engaged in a specific form or content-oriented aesthetic relationship to the sites they had chosen in the city of Münster. Many of these sculptures and projects could not have been realized in any other framework without major compromises in terms of the artists’ intent. The demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the accom- panying renegotiation of the balance of global power triggered a broadening of horizons that since 1997 has been reflected in the Münster exhibition in new issues and aesthetic approaches. Globally operating corporations and shrinking distances today provide better reasons than ever for rethinking the idea of the “genius loci”. At the same time, the curatorial concept of the Skulptur Projekte has always been diametrically opposed to the interchangeability of works and themes of the kind frequently encountered at international biennials.

What is more, as we prepare for the fifth edition of the exhibition, we look back on a large number of outstanding artistic works in Münster. The traces and ghosts of the past editions have become an important additional site-specific condition for all involved. This results in an intense examination, not only of the urban environment but also of the genesis of the exhibition itself, which is closely intertwined with the history of post-war Germany. Within this context, Münster represents a conservative historicist approach with regard to urban planning and society alike. Other cities confronted with the challenges posed by the post-war era took far more orientation from the utopian ideas of modernism that have influenced urban planning programmes all over the world since the late 1950s.

Reflections on these two contexts – How can we do justice to aspects of both globalization and site-specificity in the sense of ‘deep drilling’? – have put the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Marl on our map as a place we would like to engage more closely with in 2017.

The Münster-Marl Connection

A city with a population of 85,000, Marl belongs to both the administrative region of Münster and the greater Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area. Whereas the mercantile city of Münster with its increasing population of currently 300,000 looks back on centuries of continual growth, Marl was created by merging former villages with communities of miners and chemical industry employees. From the turn of the century until into the 1960s, its population grew to such an extent that for a time people assumed Marl would develop into a metropolis. In the ’60s and ’70s, the city reacted to these prognoses – and undertook to compensate for its lack of a historical centre – by putting up a modern town hall, complete with residential high-rises and the Marler Stern shopping centre, on a “greenfield site”. Designed by the Dutch archi- tects Johannes Hendrik van den Broek and Jacob Berend Bakema in 1957 and built between 1960 and 1967, the building ensemble is an innovative example of German post-war modernism and as such meanwhile a listed monument. It thus represents an era that almost seems to have bypassed the city of Münster, which was reconstructed after historical models. The identities chosen by the two cities after World War II – reconstruction and continuity in Münster, radical new beginning in Marl – could hardly be more different. Yet art in the public space plays a decisive role in both towns, if for different reasons. To put it in a nutshell: whereas the de- velopment in Marl can be understood as an integral element in the conveyance of a modern humanist worldview, just one decade later the first Skulptur Projekte were realized in conflict with and opposition to the conservative town society.

Cure and Kur

The project Kur und Kür / Cure and Kur by the poet Monika Rinck will accompany the changes the Skulptur Projekte entail for the city of Münster on the literary level. Altogether ten authors will spend two weeks each in Münster, including an overnight stay in Marl over a timespan deliberately including the periods before the exhibition’s opening and after its dismantling. The classical health cure promises relief from afflictions through a change of surroundings and the administration of site-specific remedies. The body is compelled to move, and to try itself out anew. A regimen of this kind can take on the character of a kur – that is, the free combination of different forms of movement. Rinck’s project will bring the two together: on the one hand the change of place and administration of remedies, on the other hand free literary movement with regard to the body in space and in contact with the works in the exhibition. The texts composed in Münster will be published online so that they can be experienced simultaneously with the other Skulptur Projekte works.


The artistic director of the fifth edition of the Skulptur Projekte Münster is Kasper König. He is developing the exhibition concept in close cooperation with the curators Britta Peters and Marianne Wagner. Britta Peters is a freelance cura- tor who has hitherto been active in the public realm and for various Kunstvereine (art associations), including those in Hamburg and Frankfurt am Main. Marianne Wagner as- sumed the position of curator of contemporary art at the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster in June 2015 and also serves as the interface between that ins- titution and the Skulptur Projekte Archive housed there. Imke Itzen is the project manager and responsible for the realization of the exhibition.

Artistas de América latina participantes

Monika Gintersdorfer, Mika Rottenberg y Bárbara Wagner

Lista completa de artistas

Ei Arakawa (1977 Fukushima, vive y trabaja en New York); Nairy Baghramian (1971 Isfahan, vive y trabaja en Berlin); Aram Bartholl (1972 Bremen, vive y trabaja en Berlin); Cosima Von Bonin + Tom Burr (1962 Mombasa, vive y trabaja en Cologne; 1963 New Haven, vive y trabaja en New York); Andreas Bunte (1970 Mettmann, vive y trabaja en Berlin); Gerard Byrne (1969 Dublin, vive y trabaja en Dublin); CAMP (Shaina Anand, 1975 Mumbai, vive y trabaja en Mumbai; Ashok Sukumaran, 1974 Hokkaido, vive y trabaja en Mumbai); Michael Dean (1977 Newcastle Upon Tyne, vive y trabaja en London); Jeremy Deller (1966 London, vive y trabaja en London); Nicole Eisenman (1965 Verdun, vive y trabaja en New York); Ayse Erkmen (1949 Istanbul, vive y trabaja en Berlin und Istanbul); Lara Favaretto (1973 Treviso, vive y trabaja en Turin); Hreinn Fridfinnson (1943 Bar i Dolum, vive y trabaja en Amsterdam); GINTERSDORFER / KLASSEN (Monika Gintersdorfer, 1967 Lima, vive y trabaja en Berlin; Knut Klaßen, 1967 Münster, vive y trabaja en Berlin); Pierre Huyghe (1962 Paris, vive y trabaja en New York); John Knight (1945 Los Angeles, vive y trabaja en Los Angeles); Justin Matherly (1972 New York, vive y trabaja en New York); SANY (Samuel Nyholm, 1973 Lund, vive y trabaja en Stockholm und Bremen); Christian Odzuck (1978 Halle, vive y trabaja en Düsseldorf); Emeka Ogboh (1977 Enugu, vive y trabaja en Berlin y Lagos); PELES EMPIRE (Barbara Wolff, 1980 Fogarasch, vive y trabaja en Berlin; Katharina Stover, 1982 Giessen, vive y trabaja en Berlin); Alexandra Pirici (1982 Bucharest, vive y trabaja en Bucharest); Mika Rottenberg (1976 Buenos Aires, vive y trabaja en New York); Xavier Le Roy (1963); Scarlet Yu (1978 Hong Kong, vive y trabaja en Paris); Gregor Schneider (1969 Rheydt, vive y trabaja en Mönchengladbach-Rheydt); Nora Schultz (1975 Frankfurt/Main, vive y trabaja en Boston); Thomas Schutte (1954 Oldenburg, vive y trabaja en Düsseldorf); Michael Smith (1951 Chicago, vive y trabaja en New York y Austin); Hito Steyerl (1966 Munich, vive y trabaja en Berlin); Koki Tanaka (1975 Tochigi, vive y trabaja en Kyoto); Oscar Tuazon (1975 Seattle, vive y trabaja en Los Angeles); Joelle Tuerlinckx (1958 Brussels, vive y trabaja en Brussels); Bárbara Wagner (1980 Brasilia, vive y trabaja en Recife); Benjamin de Burca (1975 Munich, vive y trabaja en Recife); Cerith Wyn Evans (1958 Llanelli-Wales, vive y trabaja en London); Hervé Youmbi (1973 Bangui, vive y trabaja en Douala)

Enlaces de interés