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07 skulpturprojektemunster

to Self-reflexivity FromSite-specifity

Stdphanie Delcroir M0nster, North Rhine-Westphalia, . Germany.Bear the in mind if you decide to visit, as its homonym,Munster.near Hamburg,will only amuse you if you have an interest in tanks and war history. Monster,then, is in the spotlight once again in 2AO7br the tourth edition of skulpiur proiekte,' which since 1977 has programmed ephemeral commissions at the unbeaten ratio of one in every decade. Afler such a long fast, the art feast seemed all the more enjoyable to its local and transient audiences.'There was a festive atmosphere as a constant supply ol German, European and overseas visitors whizzed through lhe streels on their hired bicycles. So what is lhe recipe for this sustained success?

Firstly.a curatoral iearr r,atha an-depth knowledgeo'i :he locale. Kasper Konig has spentthe iastthirtyyearsforginga relationship with the city.and was recentlyjoinedin his. eflortsby BrigitteFranzenand CarinaPlath', who both work for Munstersart museums. Secondly.a consrstenland light-handed curatorialvision.whichdoesn'timposean overalltheme' Finally.a dedicationto use Munsteras a platformlor "probing the various constellationsaround the relationshipbetween att and itsvariouspubtic''. Munster'sfirstsignificantencounterwith contemporaryart started wilh Skulptur1977. The commonsayingwhichstatesthat in love, oppositesattractsone anothet echoeswiththe Io skulpturprojekte.Munster, city'srelationship

the historicalcity with its medievalmazeoI streets,its omnipresentand oppressive catholicheritageand its centreidentically rebuiltafterit was levelledduringWWll,skulptur projekte,the programmewhich has been pushingthe boundariesof an art form to becomeone of the most respectedexponents of what can be looselydefinedas contemporarysculpturalpracticein an urban conlexl This implausiblelovestorystartedin an atmosphereof scandal. In 1973,a contemporarysculpturedonatedto the city by a statebank as a pay off for its controversial acquisition of a pieceof land,becamethe unfortunatefocus of the localpopulation's outpourof discontent.KlausBuBmann,head of


IMAGEld giveit to you if I could,but I botrowedit Guy Ben-Nel l\,4AlN PhotorRomanNy'ensing 1 Trick\e Doun,Andreas Siekmann Photo:RomanN.4enslng 2 Speakto the Earth ffi'd It WiLtT7ILyou,Jeteny Oellel Photo;Romanlvlensng

pashdng the bound,ariesaf un art for-m ta becameone af the most respected,enponentsaf whut can be Loaselydffined a's 'contewtpor&?V sculptural pructice' i,n an urban cantex{ feltcompelledto the Landesmuseum, local to familiarise programmean exhibition scepticswith 'the formand meaningof sculpturein the 20"'century'alongsidea series projectscuratedby Kasper of site-specific Konigfor the castle'sgardens was rocky Thebeginningof the relationship Beyondthe public'shostilityto nonJigurative sculpture,some of the artists'notionof sitespecifitywas limitedto topographicalconcerns: ClausOldenburg'sPool Bails(1977)'Iol example,were placednextto the artificiallake Aase as if they could rollover its surfacebut did not resonatewith the city'ssocio-historical make-up,When he was invited,JosephBeuys declared: "Todo somethingoutdoorswould be an aestheticwaste.""His cast of a cavity under a pedestrianramp, UnschlittlTallow(1977)' was shownin the atriumof the Landsmuseum By the mid eighties,Konig'sand BuBmann's aspirationsto createa biggerplaygroundthan theirmuseums,startedto tormentthem again. was to Thistime,the questionof site-specifity the foregroundof theirprogramme.In ten years,this questionhad migratedto more elaboratecriticalsphereswhereissuesof space,contextand spectatorshiphad begun that is stillunfolding the intricateentanglement today. KatherinaFritschreworkedMadonna (1982),a life-sizereplicaof the Lourdes souvenirversion,and placedit in the middleof a pedestrianstreetin the vlcinityof the Dominicanchurch.Beingconfrontedwith this holyapparitiontriggeredstrongreactionsfrom the publlc.Afterone kidnappingattemptand two acts of vandalism,the Duroplastcast was

finallyreplacedby concrete.Theseattacks satisfiedthe art communitywho saw them as with the local the beginningof a realinteraction population.DesignProfessorWalter Grasskampdeclaredin a television programme:"lt [Madonnal works precisely because it doesn't work." The 1997eventconfirmedthis growing popularitywith a numberof relationalpieces such as RirkritTiravanija'sUntitled(TheZoo Society)which featureda puppet show S6ffken from Gievenbeckplayed by school pupils in remembranceof the old zoo's theatre productionsand TobiasRehbergefsGintefs relif. an open-airbar on the roof tenace of the lecturehall.With morethan seventy universlty's artistsincludingDanielBuren,JanetCardiff, Fischliand Weiss,lsa Genzken(invitedagain in 2007),Hans Haacke,RebeccaHorn,Douglas Gordon,GabrielOrozco,Sol Lewitt,Laurence Weinerand RachelWhiteread,the eventwas best describedas a festiva.. For skulpturprojekte2007, the curatorsdecided to avoidthe comfortablestatusquo. Theyseem theirown activitiesby to havere-assessed addressingissuessuch as the role of art in the image-makingexerciseof cities.The natureof AndresSiekman'swork Investigative exemplifiedthis critiqueof the 'economic-driven city' most militantly.For TrickleDown. Public Space rn the Era of its Privatisationhe surveyed and gatheredthe mass-producedplastic sculpturesvariouscitieshaveinflictedonto their publicspaces.He tagged this collectionof cows, bears,horses,elephants,mooseand swanswith vignettesdepictingthe privatisation

of publicspace beforecrushingthem into a giantball whichhe rolledintothe courtyardof the baroquepalace,Erbdrostenhof. Schutte'sModel for a Museum (2007)revisits the idea of the monumentand the private/publrc dichotomywith more subtlety. Schutteused an existingfountain,whichhe enclosedin a transparentPlexiglascoffinto form the base of his model composedof a truncatedwedge surmountedby a yellowseethe throughtower.In the museum-city, appropriationof an innocuouswaterfeatureis amusing.ln the same squarestandshis 1987 CherryColumn,a coupleof overcontribution. sizedred cherriesrestingon a pedestal reminiscentof the city centre'sarcades,which now shelterbustlingshoppingcrowds The cherrieswere chosenfor theircolour,the one most commonlyused for car paintat the time' as they initiallypresidedover a car park. lronicallythe latterwas moved bul Cherry Columnremained.Thisyear,togetherwith thirty-sixformercommissions,it mingled amongstthe currentProjects. Somecommissionswere indeednot so ephemeral:overthe yearsthe city has triedto ourchasea numberof them sometimeswth the help of privatedonors.Afterbeing much criticisedPool balls has even become to Oldenburg'sdislike,a symbolfor the city ct Munster.Farfrom beingobsolete.these documentsbridgepast and presentconcer's curatedby Thisyear'sarchivalexhibttion. BrigitteFraruen.reinforceslnrs se'se or continuityand announcesthe shrfttowards Infomat'\,/erange of artrsts Oroposalsleners models.drawngs. preSs (c:t Artd:ArchitectureJourna47

,f*seplz Beezgstl,sct$?"ed.' "?-bd,* s*zya,etk'twg 'ut*ste *E*tii,oo't"s zu*'utrLtsenyt $"estket'i,c

Everyten years since 1997, skulpturproiekte has inviledartistsfrom aroundthe worldto enrichthe citywith worksof art. Subseouently, Munsterhas becornean importantname in contenporaryart in publicspace,Today. approximately fortysculpturesbearwitnessto the historyof the sku/pturproTekfe, including ClaesOldenburg'sGiantPool Balls(1977\by LakeAa, which havebecomeone of the city's most famouslandmarks.The curatorsof the exhibition are KasperKonigand Brigitte Franzen;the associatedcuratoris CarinaPlatz. The skulpturprojektem1nster07 took prace lrom June 17-September 30, parallefto documentain Kassel.providinga strong culturalinfluence on the cityand regionfor more than 100 days, Patronsof the exhibition are the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe and the Cityof Mrinster,and the exhibitionwas organisedby the LWLStateMuseumof Art and CulturalHistory,Munster.Sponsorsincludethe GermanFederalStateof NorthRhineWestphalia,the GermanFederalCultural Foundation,Kunststiftung NRW,Kulturstiftung der West.fAlischen Provinzial Versicherung, and SparkasseMunsterlandOst.

3 D|cLtttLtQur:r:rLsE mgreen & Dragset Photo Thorsten Afendt

cuttingsand publications wereon display revealing someof the workbehindthe scenes as wellas unrealised ideas.Thiscollection echoeswith DominiqueGonzalez-Forster Romande M1nsterfor whichthe artistinstalled, in a grassypatchalongthe Promenade, miniaturereplrcasof past and current commissions incudingthe unrealised proposalto momentarily Deimentas Narkevicius' moveKarlMarx'sbustfromChemintz to MrLnster. ln a filmedperformance, DramaQueens, MichaelElmgreen & IngarDragsetalsostaged sculpturalreplicasand giftedthem with the capacityto speak.Tim Etchellsof Forced Enteftainment wrotea funnyif somewhatselfconsciousscript,whichpersonifies whatthe sculoturesreoresent.Sol Lewitt'sFourCubes enumeratesa seriesof pretentiousstatements, Giacomettr's WalkingMan featuresas a depressedexistentialist clashingwith Jeff Koon'sRabbf, the hyperpartyanimal,Guy Benner'sinstallation I'd giveit to you if I could, but I borrowedit, makesvisitorspedalto activatean equallyentertaining video,in which,

1 i!:1t1! skulptur

prujekki niinster


17 Juile

whilstvisitingthe museumwithhistwo children, the artistimprovisesa bicyclefrom the sculptureson show,beforetakingit for a ride throughtown.MarkWallinger cast inhabitants and visitorsin a real-life scenariowitha discreet and intelligent installation. Inspiredby the city's circularshape,and varioustraditions of repressive or permissive demarcation including the Jewisheruy.whichdelimitsa zonein which prohibitedactivitiescan stilltake place.he the city'scentrewitha fishingline.A encircled good pair of eyeswas neededto see Zone,the 3-metrehighthread,as it blendedwith its surroundings. As usualwith Wallinger, the work resistedan easy interpretation, and left onlookerswonderingwhetherthis zone restricts or expandsour freedom.JeremyDeller's projectdrew our attentionto anotherdividing tradition,as he invitedvisitorsto wander throughMunster's I feltscrutinised allotments. as I went down the straightalley,peeringover the beautifullycultivatedpatches.Not graspable in a visit, Speak to the eafth and it will tell you willdevelopovertimeas Deller,ingeniously exploitingthe formato'fskulpturprojekte,asked the hobbyiststo keepa diaryfor the nextten

:l(.) Sc,lnelnbt 20A7

2 575,000 people tisitetT sktllptltr ptojekte niinstel'07 3 RespectirL!


oJ the L\I'L-Landesmnseuu

Jiir Kunst und KLtltlo'g,is(hicllte

and d.irctot

oJ lhe \(estfeli.hcs

5 nrc cu.rutors iil the prqface qi the 2007 uttalogue 6 Kaspcr Kljnig

repo|ted these 7rcrds in tlle 1997 inteniet

1 "S i e futl k ti oni ei l ge ru d e u:ei I s i e ni cht fit nk t i.) n i.eil ! "



conducted blJ Carola TlEa.fot Sculplut"



years, Intentionally visitorsto subjecting scrutiny, BruceNaumanneventually realisedhis SquareDepression, a concavepyramid,which createsthe "confrontationof a public private experiencewithpublic exposure", As I readaftenvards,I was supposedto stand on the apexof SquareDepression'spyramid wheremy eyeswould havenaturallymet the edges of its base but I just lay down on one of its facesand lookeddreamilyat the clouds, There,I revisitedeach of the stageson which the artistssharedtheirreflectionon the'form and meaningof sculpture',

St6phanieDelcroixis a freelancewriterand afts manager.Sheis currentlyworkingon an AHBC funded PhD as a collaborationbetweenArtangel and the Schoolof Englishand Drama,Queen Mary University,London. www.step

An article about Skulpture Projekte Münster 07 by Stéphanie Delcroix  

Skulpture Projekte Münster 07: From Site-specifity to Self-reflexivity by Stéphanie Delcroix for the Art&Architecture Journal issue 66/67

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