The artists participating in the Skulptur Projekte develop site-specific works in various media – sculpture in the classical sense, with its traditional materials, but also installations and performances – with which they inscribe themselves into the structural, historical and social contexts of the city of Münster.

5th Skulptur Projekte Münster

June 10 – October 1, 2017

Artistic Director: Kasper König
Curators: Britta Peters, Marianne Wagner

The internationally oriented Skulptur Projekte Münster have been taking place at regular ten-year intervals since 1977. The town itself plays a leading role as the point of departure for the artistic explorations. At the same time, the Projekte point far beyond the actual Münster city limits: the participating artists address topics of relevance to the global present and reflect on contemporary concepts of sculpture, while also considering the relationship between the public and private realms in times of increasing digitalization.

First Concept

In developing the exhibition, it is our confidence in the themes addressed by the participating artists that serves us as a basis. The proven practice of inviting interesting artists for visits in advance, and only later asking them to submit concrete project proposals, has been maintained.

For the past decade, rapidly increasing digitalization can be considered the single most decisive change permeating every area of society: the years 2004 and 2006 saw the launching of Facebook and Twitter.  In view of political networks and data storage as well as the user-generated economies of the social media – including the monitoring and evaluation of those media for marketing purposes – a shift of public and private spheres is taking place to a degree nothing short of dramatic. Virtual and non-virtual realms of experience have merged to such an extent that the only viable term for the phenomenon is a “hybrid mesh”. There is no boundary between the “analogue” and the “digital” world.

Initial contact has been made to artists, a number of whom have already visited Münster. Among those under consideration are, for example, the Romanian artist Alexandra Pirici and the French dancer and choreographer Xavier Le Roy, whose works are devoted to the relationship between the body, sculpture and the city. With this focus, we will not only reflect on the specific characteristics of the performing arts, but also on the new meaning attributed to the body in our day and age. Yet we are also inviting artists who work more in the sculptural context, for example Santiago Sierra, who integrates the theme of globalization in his political approach to sculpture, or Ayse Erkmen, who already took part in the Skulptur Projekte in 1997. Aram Bartholl, who links modern technology with the archaic image of the campfire, and Andreas Bunte, who conceives of mobile terminal devices as projection machinery, concern themselves with explicit issues of digitality and communication. Some thirty new artistic productions are to be presented in 2017.

We are presently discussing the question of whether and how a meaningful exchange between the city of Münster and structurally comparable cities on other continents might be realized within the framework of the Skulptur Projekte 2017. We are examining various models and researching possible partners. In the broader sense, the idea of incorporating artists’ books and fanzines – two less institutionalized and less internationally widespread forms of art – into the public realm can be included in this context. For the mediation of the show on site in Münster, we plan to work closely with members of all 165 nationalities represented in the town population.

“To inscribe oneself directly into cultural, political and urban-planning contexts existing in the public realm – to comment on them, contradict them, or open up entirely new spaces – that is where I see the great potential of art outside its traditional protective zones”, curator Britta Peters explained. “The challenge for 2017 will consist in holding one’s ground in the present-day ‘art-as-lifestyle’ atmosphere in terms of content – and by that I mean not only political content, but also contentuality in terms of aesthetics.”

“The realization of the exhibition already conveys a political message per se by attempting to be as independent as possible from the economic point of view”, said Kasper König, who has been involved in the Skulptur Projekte since their inception and is now accompanying them for the fifth time. “As an old stager I’m throwing my hat into the ring one more time to prevent the planned transition to a five-year interval for the Skulptur Projekte. Ten years are perfect: Westphalian and laid back, campfire instead of beacon.”

The principal sponsor is the German Federal Culture Foundation, which is contributing one million Euros to the Skulptur Projekte. Promising negotiations are moreover presently in progress with the State of North Rhine – Westphalia.

Image: Lord Mayor of the city of Münster Markus Lewe, Director of LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur Dr. Hermann Arnhold, Managing Director of Skulptur Projekte Imke Itzen, the curatorial team of Skulptur Projekte 2017 with Marianne Wagner, Kasper König, Britta Peters and LWL-Landesdirector Matthias Löb. Photo: Hubertus Huvermann. Courtesy LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur.