These artworks will remain permanently in the New Emscher Valley

Press release from 16th September 2016

Dortmund / Ruhr metropolis, 16th September 2016. 24 current positions of contemporary art were on display for a total of 100 days in natural settings and urban spaces along the Emscher during Emscherkunst 2016: alongside nine works carried over from 2010 and 2013 – albeit partly set in a new context, there are 15 new works to interpret the transformation of the landscape. A minimum of four of the nine artworks will remain permanently following the end of Emscherkunst 2016 on 18th September.

In contrast to Emscherkunst 2013, no clear favourite has yet emerged with the public in this year’s exhibition. Three years ago, the dancing electricity pylon Sorcerer’s apprentice by Inges Idee in Oberhausen was by far the favourite of the enthusiastic spectators, whereas this time around there are several works in contention according to a preliminary analysis of the visitor survey: particularly popular with visitors is the art bridge Waiting for the river. Further top nominees include the sound installation Forest – for a thousand years by Cardiff and Miller in woodland along the Emscher near Recklinghausen, For a short spell by raumlabor as well as Society of amateur ornithologists by Mark Dion.

A minimum of four – but ideally six – artworks or series will remain after the end of the exhibition on 18th September 2016, the majority of them in Dortmund and one work each in Holzwickede and Castrop-Rauxel.

The Emscherquellhof in Holzwickede will become the permanent location of The Insect Societies (Part 1) by the Swede Henrik Håkansson – oversized beehives, which address the subject of sustainability and ecology. The bee colonies dwelling there will be taken care of by the apiarist Rita Breker-Kremer.

Two of the three sculptures in the series Spirits of the Emscher valley by the artist couple Lucy and Jorge Orta will remain in the Dortmund district of Hörde, while the permanent location of the third sculpture is the subject of ongoing discussions. raumlabor’s mobile installation For a short spell will spend at least the next five years at its current location in the vicinity of the Emscher in Dortmund-Dorstfeld. The large-scale work by the Italian Massimo Bartolini Black Circle Square, completed at the beginning of August, is one of the new landmarks at the Dortmund/Castrop-Rauxel flood control reservoir. The 10.5 x 10.5 metre white basin with black pool forms an enduring contrast to the surrounding landscape. Nevin Aladag’s Breakwater, 60 large concrete tetrapods, will also initially stay at its current location. The plan is to move them by 2018 at the latest, on final completion of the reservoir as part of the Emscher renaturation project.

With regard to the atelier le balto’s Dramatic Pause (also at Dortmund-Dorstfeld) of the artificially set up wooden peer in a hazel grove, the Emscherkunst organisers are currently in discussion with the city of Dortmund regarding its future location.

“Waiting for the river” is coming to the European Green Capital

The bridge installation Waiting for the river is going to assume a special role: it will remain at the waterway junction in Castrop-Rauxel over the winter and be closed. Next year, the bridge will become part of the European Green Capital 2017 in Essen, being returned to its original location in Essen-Altenessen where it was part of the Capital of Culture year RUHR.2010 (near the Nordsternpark in Gelsenkirchen).

All other artworks will be dismantled in the days following the end of the exhibition.


Since the first Emscherkunst in 2010, the motif of destruction and transformation of the former industrial landscape along the Emscher has formed a key theme in the Emscherkunst concept. The guiding principal of the RUHR.2010 Capital of Culture Festival – “Change through Culture – Culture through Change” – was also an ideal assignment for the first Emscherkunst exhibition. For the second exhibition in 2013, Curator Prof. Florian Matzner set the tone with the themes “Ecology and climate change” while focusing on areas fraught with social tensions, such as Duisburg-Marxloh. The changing exhibition areas along the Emscher have shifted in their west/east alignment within the Ruhr. This, moreover, has been associated with a change of accentuation. The slogan for Emscherkunst 2016 was “Discover the art – Experience the change.” The artists invited by Florian Matzner together with the Co-Curators Katja Aßmann (Artistic Director of Urbane Künste Ruhr) and Dr. Simone Timmerhaus (Emschergenossenschaft) have created a dialogue with the newly emerging Ruhr.