Tuesday, 15 August 2017


Münster is only a 2.5hrs train ride from Hamburg (with a direct ICE connection, thank you, Deutsche Bahn!) and this summer there is an even better reason to go and visit: the chance to see the Skulptur Projekte, an exhibition of site-specific sculptures distributed over the city scape. Skulptur Projekte is held only every 10 years, this may well be a once in a lifetime chance.

planning the trip to Skulptur Projekte over coffee

The exhibition started out in the 1970s and faced tremendous resistance from the local community at first. Over time, the locals got used to it and some argue it became more of a tourist attraction than a serious art event. The city or private benefactors bought some of the previous works and so today there is also an archive of sculptures in the city that makes for a nice tour to get to know the town.
Even though Münster is small, the sculptures are spread out and I highly recommend either bringing or renting a bike to explore.I studied in Münster and actually worked at the previous Skulptur Projekte back in 2007, so I had to go and see what's new over there.

Once in Münster, there is an info-booth of Skulptur Projekte located right opposite the main station. I picked up a map with very short descriptions (3€). There is an app, too, but that got so bad ratings that I did not bother clocking my phone's storage.

Near the train station starts Wolbecker Straße, a street that has undergone serious development and is now bustling with new development, bars and restaurants but we'll get back there later. I started my research at the famed "Teilchen & Beschleuniger" (Wolbecker Str. 55) a cafe that became a favorite of many and whose name roughly translates into particle & accelerator. So my expectations were high.
The interior was nice but nothing special with an eclectic array of flea market furniture in mid-century style. The coffee was solid but nothing to come back for. Apparently, their bagels are famous, but nothing struck me as super special. But while sitting near the window I witnessed a culinary walking tour stop by and mainly middle-class, middle -aged  couples in checked shirts were handed half a bagel to sample. If their bagels are really so good or if it just something so exotic in provincial Germany was hard to tell. They chewed dutifully and but somewhat estranged.
a cozy place: Teilchen & Beschleuniger

However, I decided to start with the sculptures furthest away from the center, that is usually packed with tourists, even more so on a Saturday afternoon. A short bike ride away let me to Christian Odzuck's "OFF OFD" (Andreas-Hofer-Straße 50), a structure made of scaffolding and concrete on the site of a former financial administrative building. It is supposed to resemble the building that once stood here, but even though I lived in the area I have no recollection of it whatsoever.
The scaffolding below gives it a somewhat unstable and fragile look that juxtaposes the solid concrete on top. The structure is basically a concrete stair winding around a concrete pillar with an extention at the end. With the grey sky as a back drop and the construction site around it, it feels like some eerie dystopia of modern architecture.

OFF OFD by Christian Odzuck

OFF OFD by Christian Odzuck

 From there, it is a quick bike ride along the canal to the old harbor, that underwent reconstruction and is now home to bars and cafés. Here was my favourite work by Turkish artist Ayse Erkmen. Her work ON WATER is probably the most visited and photographed: a runway constructed about 20sm underwater connects the two banks of the port basin, so you can walk fromone side to the other. It looks like people walking on water and bristles with symbolism, but is also a fun and pretty cool experience to walk through the water and be in a place you usually have no access to.
Ayse Erkmen: ON WATER

From the harbour, I went to have a look at Oscar Tuazon's BURN THE FORMWORK, but this concrete fireplace in the middle of several wastelands and construction sites was rather unspectactular.
Back towards the city, I passed Justin Matherly's NIETZSCHE'S ROCK, that did not invite me to any contemplation, before I arrived at Mika Rottenbergs COSMIC GENERATOR. It is one of those pieces that is more an installtion that a scultpure: a former Asian supermarket has been equipped with empty shelves and bunches of lametta, with the typical smell still lingering aorund, a mixture of spices and rancid oil. The shop of empty shelves is dotted with remnants and in the back there is quite a good film showing about Chinese small shop sellers in a Mexican border town. Figure that.


After so much cultural stimulation, I needed another coffee. Thank goodness, my favourite place in Münster is not far away: The Roestbar! I think this place was their first where they used to roast their coffee. Now it only serves as a cafe but the coffee is still pretty good, yet strong and the cakes and sweet treats  awesome.
best coffee in town in the cutest place: Roestbar

From there, it is not far to the municipal theatre,  housed in a goregous 1950s building. There, Indian artists CAMP have installed streched black wire in the courtyard, but this was rather disappointing.I Headed on to the base camp of Skulptur Projekte, the Museum of art and art history. This Building underwent modernization and is now much more present in the city, it actuayll put itself on the map. I used to intern there a long time ago and back then the museum mastred the art of camouflage: even though it is a rather large building right in the center surrounded by university buildings, nobody knew it was there. This has changed dramatically, and so I finished my trip there, admiring Cosima von Bonin's and Tom Burr's BONIN BENZ BURR, a metal plastic that had been driven aroudn town on a massive truck, now also part of the installation.

A day can go by quickly and conveniently close to the station was a place I wanted to check out since I first saw it in the morning: Taco Heroes! Maybe not the most innovative, but filling food served in a Mexican-kitsch atmosphere, how can you say no to that? With a beer on the go, I headed back to Hamburg...

Dinner after a long day: Taco Heroes


"Teilchen & Beschleuniger", Wolbecker Str. 55

Roestbar (several locations), Bohlweg 68a

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