This year has proven to be very busy for the global art world, with the 57th Venice Biennale, the 14th documenta, and the 5th Skulptur Projekte Münster overlapping with each other in Europe, not to mention other biennials and triennials worldwide.
In Germany, Münster, about 200 km away from the crowded documenta city Kassel (see my review of the documenta 14 here), felt like a breath of fresh air with its pedestrian Promenade, the Aasee lake, and its old town charm. Starting also on the 10th of June, the same day as the documenta in Kassel, Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017 also, for the first time, took place simultaneously in two locations, that is, in Münster, and in another German town, Marl. One more similarity to the documenta 14 lies in the fact that some of the works from previous editions played an important role in this year’s edition as well. Hence, there remained on view from the very beginning, continuing to be part of Münster’s urban identity, for instance Claes Oldenburg’s ‘Giant Pool Balls’ and Henry Moore's ‘Large Vertebrae’, both from 1977, while some other works were temporary relocated to Marl, as part of ‘The Hot Wire’ extension show, like Richard Artschwager’s ‘Ohne Titel (Fahrradständermonument B)’ from 1987 and a selection of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s scale models from 2007.
Henry Moore, Large Vertebrae. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Dedicated to the medium of sculpture as public art, the exhibition is questioning the concept of sculpture, understood in its expanded contemporary context, i.e. ranging from traditional sculptures and installations to performances, interventions, and more. The exhibition space of the decennial, part of the public space in Münster, was likewise broad and consisted of the public library, the Promenade, the Hamburger Tunnel, the historic town hall Friedenssaal, the State Museum (LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur), the Münster Theater, the state-owned bank headquarters, a church, a cemetery, a tattoo studio, a discotheque from the 70s called ‘Elephant Lounge’, as well as streets and parks.
Although the maps and the directions were very clear, sometimes arriving at a checkpoint was somewhat confusing, especially if you haven’t done your research on the works in advance and wanted to let yourself be surprised, as you didn’t know what exactly to look for. Thus, some open-air works were truly astonishing like a Mercedes truck, the work titled ‘Benz Bonin Burr’ by Cosima von Bonin and Tom Burr, situated in front of the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur or John Knight’s level ‘A Work in situ’ mounted on the façade of a new building of the same museum. The texts in the catalog and on the web-site were indeed enlightening in this sense. Moreover, some of the works were conceived of as a conjunction between several artistic practices, so you couldn’t exactly define whether it was a performance or a participative work or something else not yet defined, such as ‘N. Schmidt Pferdegasse 19 48143 Münster Deutschland’ by Gregor Schneider, where the attendee was supposed to queue up to an hour in order to enter an apartment alone or together with only one more person, just to circle the space…
Cosima von Bonin and Tom Burr, Benz Bonin Burr. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
A very acclaimed performance was Alexandra Pirici’s ‘Leaking Territories’, which I attended on one of the last days to see Luísa Marinho Saraiva, Fang-Yu Shen, Montserrat Gardó Castillo, Tyshea Lashaune Suggs, Rolando Matsangos, and Beniamin Boar before Liliana Ferri De Guyenro, Susanne Grau, Susanne Griem, Pia Alena Wagner, Andy Zondag, and Jared Marks took over.
Alexandra Pirici, Leaking Territories. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Featuring 35 international artists, the exhibition put on view some more traditional - in the sense of three dimensional - works too, such as ‘Sketch for a Fountain’ by Nicole Eisenman, ‘Momentary Monument – The Stone’ by Lara Favaretto, ‘Nietzsche’s Rock’ by Justin Matherly, or ‘Nuclear Temple’ by Thomas Schütte.
Nicole Eisenman, Sketch for a Fountain. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Lara Favaretto, Momentary Monument – The Stone. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Justin Matherly, Nietzsche’s Rock. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Thomas Schütte, Nuclear Temple. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Curated by Britta Peters together with LWL-Museum’s curator Marianne Wagner and having as artistic director one of the very founders of Skulptur Projekte Münster, Kasper Koenig, the decennial took place between June 10 and October 1, 2017 in Münster and Marl.
Peles Empire, Sculpture. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Hito Steyerl, HellYeahWeFuckDie. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, Bye Bye Germany! A Life Melody. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
CAMP (Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran), Matrix. Photo Credit © Ana-Daniela Sultana
Artists: Ei Arakawa, Nairy Baghramian, Aram Bartholl, Cosima von Bonin / Tom Burr, Andreas Bunte, Gerard Byrne, CAMP (Shaina Anand / Ashok Sukumaran), Michael Dean, Jeremy Deller, Nicole Eisenman, Ayşe Erkmen, Lara Favaretto, Hreinn Friðfinnsson, Gintersdorfer / Klaßen, Pierre Huyghe, John Knight, Justin Matherly, Sany (Samuel Nyholm), Christian Odzuck, Emeka Ogboh, Peles Empire, Alexandra Pirici, Mika Rottenberg, Xavier Le Roy / Scarlet Yu, Gregor Schneider, Nora Schultz, Thomas Schütte, Michael Schmidt, Hito Steyerl, Koki Tanaka, Oscar Tuazon, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Bárbara Wagner / Benjamin de Burca, Cerith Wyn Evans, and Hervé Youmbi.
Text and photos by Ana-Daniela Sultana
Ana-Daniela Sultana is a freelance curator born in Bucharest in the last decade of Communism, currently living and working in Bucharest and Vienna. She holds a MA in ecm - educating/curating/managing from the University of Applied Arts Vienna and is the co-founder of the MODELiER venue in Bucharest and the [ˈfæbrɪk] transdisciplinary organization in Vienna. She is collaborating with creative communities and cultural institutions; her aim is to promote new or lesser known artists and their endeavors.