Monument on Winter Break



The composite work Monument for a Forgotten Future – also known as the ‘singing mountain’ – that was built for the Emscherkunst 2010 on the so-called ‘Wilde Insel’ in Gelsenkirchen, close to the locks of the Rhine-Herne-Canal, bows out for its winter break.

The rock sculpture by the artists Olaf Nicolai and Douglas Gordon will stay publically accessible during the Winter, but the sound installation by the Scottish rock group Mogwai is turned off during the Winter months to prevent damages caused by the weather.


The Monument for a forgotten future at night, (c) Emscherkunst/Roman Mensing


The 12m high rock sculpture is one of the Emscherkunst’s permanent works and has advanced to a popular recreational spot. The sculpture is a replication of a real rock formation in the Joshua Tree National park in the US. The Scottish band Mogwai composed a symphony for this, a song for the Emscher.

The monumental sculpture in the immediate surroundings of the RuhrOel refinery’s industriel backdrop, on the property of a former dump functions as an ‘unnatural natural phenomenon’ and likewise as a place of imagination and desire. During the summer, visitors can – leaned closely on the rock’s walls – listen to the 26 minutes long composition that is playing on the inside. Usually, the music inside of the mountain is turned of at the end of October and the mountain is send on its well-deserved winter break. Due to the mild autumn, the “Symphony for the Emscher” could play until the end of November this year.

Starting next spring, the mountain will sing again and get walkers and bikers in the right mood for the Emscherkunst 2016 in the coming summer, which starts on the 4. of June until 18. September 2016, and shows art on the banks of the river Emscher for the third time.