World sculpture show attracts half a million
30 September 2007, Muenster, Germany (dpa) -A free open-air show by 34 of the world's top sculptors ended in Germany Sunday with half a million people estimated to have toured the sites in the city of Muenster.
30 September 2007
Muenster, Germany (dpa) -A free open-air show by 34 of the world's top sculptors ended in Germany Sunday with half a million people estimated to have toured the sites in the city of Muenster.
Visitors were advised to hire bicycles to get around the show, since Muenster is flat and has a dense web of cycleways, and caused one or two traffic jams as they paused to admire the mainly conceptual sculptures.
The event, the Muenster Sculpture Projects, is held only once a decade.
Works were commissioned from artists including Iranian-born Nairy Baghramian, Israeli-born Guy Ben-Ner and Japanese-born Suchan Kinoshita, all of whom are now based in Europe.
The 107-day show featured as one of four on this summer's Grand Tour of contemporary art: the others were Documenta, which ended Sunday in the German city of Kassel, the one-week Art Basel and the Venice Biennale.
Not all the Muenster works were sculptures in the traditional sense: some were video installations or performance art, and some looked at first glance like piles of rubbish.
Humorists in the town arranged their own piles of junk on street corners and stacked up 12 bicycles on the roof of a public toilet in a sarcastic retort to the "junk art."
Muenster has not always been enamoured of the event: city residents protested against it when it began in 1977, were neutral in 1987 and only grew to love it 10 years ago.
This year, the event was marketed worldwide for the first time and hundreds of journalists attended the June opening. The German- and English-language catalogues both sold out in the first week and had to be reprinted.
The sculptures are described as "experiments" and some of the audience felt inspired to experiment themselves. No one minded the jokes, but artists were annoyed when items were stolen.
Los Angeles artist Michael Asher has parked the same white caravan on various Muenster streets every decade since 1977 and photographed the changes in the cityscape.
At one point the ageing caravan vanished completely. It was finally discovered in a town 14 kilometres away.
The loudspeakers for an audio installation under a bridge by Susan Philipsz of Scotland were also stolen several times over and had to be burglar-proofed.
The city has yet to decide which of the artworks to keep permanently, nor is it certain yet if there will be a fifth edition of the Sculpture Projects in 2017.
"But I can sense it coming," said the curator, Brigitte Franzen.
Subject: German news