press release

The exhibition hell-gruen is the city of Düsseldorf’s contribution to the art events taking place as part of EUROGA 2002plus. Thirty artists have been invited to develop projects for the Düsseldorf hofgarten park which involve either plants or light, both of which are linked with cyclical rhythms and with processes of change and thus involve the process-orientated site specific forms of art in public places. The city park, the Hofgarten, is the central focus ˇ and point of departure ˇ for this exhibition, which will extend into the adjacent gardens of the Ehrenhof museum, Jägerhof castle and Schauspielhaus (theatre), up the Königsallee, across to the Art Academy and along the Rhine promenade. During the summer of 2002, this large, open, English inspired, park-like space intersected by streets will be temporary transformed.

The Garden as a space of meaning and significance Since the Renaissance there has been a tendency to lay out gardens as if they were “Academies” or “theatres of remembrance”. Landscaping was carried out according to aesthetic and pedagogical criteria, each part of the garden presenting a picture meant to stimulate specific thoughts or themes. This approach continued through the Baroque and into English landscape gardening. Monuments, sculptures, buildings and bridges, some new, others reminiscent of times past, were meant to inspire thoughts on nature, art, politics, history and philosophy. This museum-like, contemplative aspect of the Hofgarten is what distinguishes the park from the rest of the city and makes it a special setting for art projects.

The artists invited To achieve the widest possible spectrum of ideas and approaches, a competition was held which was open to all artists in the German speaking countries of Europe. Twelve projects were selected by jury. A further eighteen artists were invited to participate in the exhibition. In choosing these, the focus was on variety of approach, thus, along with, for example, Mark Dion, herman de vries, Lois Weinberger, or the Galerie für Landschaftskunst and alias - Atelier für Spaziergangsforschung, all of whom work closely with the theme of nature, artists such as Job Koelewijn, Eva Löfdahl or Suchan Kinoshita were also invited who, although they don’t work specifically with plants, found the idea of doing a piece for the exhibition exciting. The projects for hell-gruen also include literature in the form of a book Rosa Immergruen (Rose Evergreen). This includes writing on the theme of plants by, among others, Oswald Egger, Barbara Köhler und Barbara Bongartz. ...

Surprises in the park Most of the projects will be in the Hofgarten park and surrounding area within the city. Art will not always be immediately recognizable as such. High in the sky or low on the ground, works will be found in unexpected places. At the same time the theme is the Hofgarten itself; the works become an integral part of the park by focussing on some aspect of it - it’s layout, the effect city planning has had on it, etc. - so that a new, and more complex landscape begins to appear in the mind of the viewer. Whereas the functional aspect of public spaces tends to regulate and control, surprises are possible and play an important role. Different approaches by greatly differing astists has produced an exhibition with a wide variety of themes: In her work „Broderieparterre aus Bauschutt“, for example, Ulrike Holthöfer refers to the recently demolished art museum, the Kunstpalast in the Ehrenhof, and to the construction a new museum in its place. ...

Kunst im öffentlichen Raum The project hell-gruen would also like to stimulate debate about art in public spaces. To what extent have the interests and intentions of artists changed? How does the approach taken by artists differ to that taken by other groups of experts? When is a work of art finished? Apart from presenting individual artistic positions, the exhibition is intended as a forum for debate on themes such as: public gardens and parklands, Process-art and the environment, the role of art in public spaces, and the function of public spaces. There will be a series of lectures and discussions to introduce the various positions that have been taken on these themes. Guided tours, a programme of films, music events, and school programmes, as well as an inter-active Internet catalogue, will arouse curiosity and attract visitors to Düsseldorf during the summer of 2002.

... The illustrations include drawings by Tomas Schmit, Thomas Schütte und Suse Wiegand to name only three. A project by Ursula Damm is growing in the Internet as an organic piece that reacts interactively to contributions made by visitors to the site.

... Stefan Hoderlein is interested in the forms and symbols used by subcultures. Reminiscent of the brightly coloured temples and burial chambers of ancient Egypt, his illuminated wall-photographs in the Tonhalle underground station with thousands of pop und subculture images are intended as a kind of excavation of the present age. The Artist Mark Dion has designed a “Vivarium”, in which he has placed an ancient, rotting tree trunk, that now serves as the life-support for fungi, worms, plants und Micro-organisms. The base of the “Vivarium” is of tiles that have drawings of these living things printed on them. Like Snow White in her coffin ˇ half dead and half alive ˇ the tree represents the point in nature when one form gives way to another.

only in german

hell-gruen 2002
30 Kunstwerke im und am Hofgarten Düsseldorf

Künstler: Mark Dion, Herman de Vries, Lois Weinberger, Galerie für Landschaftskunst, Atelier für Spaziergangsforschung (Annemarie und Lucius Burckhardt, Katja Heinecke, Reinhard Krehl, Bertram Weisshaar), Job Koelewijn, Eva Löfdahl, Tazro Niscino, Suchan Kinoshita, Oswald Egger, Barbara Köhler, Barbara Bongartz, Ulrike Holthöfer, Tomas Schmit, Thomas Schütte, Suse Wiegand, Ursula Damm, Stefan Hoderlein