Discover art – experience the Change!

On Monday, the 23rd of November 2015, the Emscherkunst 2016’s concept and artistic drafts were presented at the Dortmunder U. The exhibition is taking place along the riverbanks of the Emscher for the now third time from the 4th of July to the 18th of September. Contemporary positions of art in nature and in the urban will be shown. With ‘Dortmund Urban‘ – one of the seven exhibition areas – a focal point is put in the middle of the city, too, for the first time. Attending artists like the Dutch Erik van Lieshout, atelier le balto, and the artist duo Stracke & Seibt discussed their projects. The exhibition is being curated by Florian Matzner together with Katja Aßmann (Urbane Künst Ruhr) and Simone Timmerhaus (Emschergenossenschaft). Organizers are, as they were in 2010 and 2013, the Emschergenossenschaft, the Urbane Künste Ruhr, and the Regionalverband Ruhr.

Foto der Veranstalter, Kuratoren und Künstler (c) Kirsten Neumann, Emscherkunst

Organizers, Curators, and artists (c) Kirsten Neumann, Emscherkunst



Details about the 51km long Art Trail through the Emscher-Towns Holzwickede, Dortmund, Castrop-Rauxel, Recklinghausen and Herne were presented. The plan is to create 16 new works in the seven exhibition areas. Nine more projects from the exhibitions in 2010 and 2013 will shine at new places. All in all, 25 sculptures, installations, interventions, performances and both photography and film can be experienced in the summer of 2016.


Core theme, next to the conversion of the river Emscher to a renaturized river system, is the destruction and transformation of the Ruhr Area’s industrial landscape. Aspects like climate, ecology and participation are parts of the curatorial concept again. These themes have been unchanged since 2010, but newly added since 2013 has been the urban context, which gets its own focal point in 2016. The artists who were invited dealt with the exhibition areas intensively during their tour and will create works inspired by those places.


Curator Florian Matzner emphasized that the artistic positions in 2016, compared to the past two exhibitions, will be definitely more radical and subtle/deep: ‘I wish for a stronger discussion about the art itself! The visitors shall be put on new tracks, be shown new points of view that they might not expect in this landscape.’ Florian Matzner curated the exhibition Emscherkunst 2016 together with Katja Aßmann, artistical director of Urbane Künste Ruhr, and Dr. Simone Timmerhaus, Emschergenossenschaft under the motto „Entdecke die Kunst – erlebe die Veränderung.“ (Discover the Art – Experience the Change).


Erik van Lieshout (Netherlands) is one of the chosen artists in 2016. He lived and worked periodically in the district Hörde, Dortmund, for his film project ‚The island / Die Insel‘ which was filmed at the Phoenix Lake in Dortmund.


atelier le balto (France/Berlin) is realizing their work ‚Kunstpause‘ (lit. Artistic Pause, means dramatic pause) in an enchanted hazelnut grove close to the coking plant Hansa, Dortmund. This island-like area will be landscaped to a new place to linger with wooden jetties, places to sit and both indigenous and exotic plants.


The artist duo Stracke & Seibt (Germany) is planning a project spanning all seven exhibition areas with „WATER COLOR“(working title). A studio on wheels serves as a mobile research station, from which the visitors can (with instructions from the artists) view and discover the surrounding area in the form of a ‚classical‘ water colour painting course. The painting courses’ forays examine, with reference to heroic landscape painting, scientific drawings, and naive painting, the Emscher area for obvious breaks in the idealistic picture subject of the undisturbed landscape.


More artists of the Emscherkunst 2016

Among the artists chosen for 2016 are also Nevin Aladağ (born in Turkey, lives in Berlin), who is designing a horizontal landmark in the flood control reservoir. Tobias Zielony (German Pavilon Biennale di Venezia 2015) is planning a film project in the urban Dortmund Raumlabor from Berlin will realize an accessible contemplative place in and at the Emscher. Additional artist are the Swedish Henrik Håkansson, whose works take ecology into consideration strongly, the Swiss Roman Signer und the Italian Massimo Bartolini, to just name a few. With the Kunstakademie Münster (Art Academy Münster) (Director Prof. Ferdinand Ullrich) there will again be a regional art project. All artists’ names are summarized on the Artists List.


Seven exhibition areas along the art trail

With every edition, Emscherkunst’s the exhibition room shifts: in 2010, the focus was on the Emscher-Island – the landform between the Emscher and the Rhein-Herne-Canal between Herne/Recklinghausen and Oberhausen. In 2013, the Emscherkunst moved farther west: the art trail spanned between Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg/Dinslaken, where the Emscher leads into the Rhine. In 2016, the eastern Ruhr Area shifts into the focus and reaches from Holzwickede, Dortmund and Castrop-Rauxel to Recklinghausen and Herne. Seven exhibition areas lie along the 52km long art trail, which is best seen by bike: In Holzwickede one can find the exhibition area „Emscherquelle“ – both the Hixterwald (Hixter forest) and the historical Emscherquellhof (Emscher Spring Farmyard) become a space for three artists, where, among others, there will be a camping ground with the tents of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (work from 2013). Obvious focus is on the Dortmunder urban region with four exhibition areas: Phoenix See, Dortmund Urban (Dortmunder U,

Rheinische Straße) and the Kokerei Hansa (Cokery Hansa) become venues for the exhibition. Just on the city boundaries of Dortmund and Castrop-Rauxel is the area of the Hochwasserrückhaltebeckens (flood retention basin) Mengede-Ickern. Also in Castrop-Rauxel is the exiting area of the Wasserkreuzes (waterway bridge) of Emscher and Rhein-Herne-Kanal. In Recklinghausen/Herne the area of the Museums Strom und Leben (Museum for Electricity and Life) and the Stadthafens (city haven) form the western end of the Emscherkunst 2016.