With Repeat Attacks, Skulptur Projekte Münster Proves a Playground for Thieves and Vandals

Works by Nicole Eisenman, Koki Tanaka, and Ei Arakawa have been affected since the opening of the prestigious exhibition.

Koki Tanaka, Provisional Studies: Workshop #7 How to Live Together and Sharing the Unknown, Photo: Henning Rogge, ©Skulptur Projekte 2017.
Koki Tanaka, Provisional Studies: Workshop #7 How to Live Together and Sharing the Unknown, Photo Henning Rogge, ©Skulptur Projekte 2017.

There’s no end to the problems facing Skulptur Projekte Münster. The Nicole Eisenman ensemble created for the prestigious decennial has been vandalized for the second time in as many weeks, and technical equipment from Koki Tanaka’s project has been stolen.

On the night of Monday, July 31, large parts of the technical equipment of Tanaka’s Provisional Studies: Workshop #7 How to Live Together and Sharing the Unknown were removed by thieves. The Skulptur Projekte press team have announced that Tanaka’s project on Johannisstrasse will be closed until new technology can be installed.

#Survivor 🙏🏼 #NicoleEisenman #withouthead #skulpturprojektemuenster2017

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Meanwhile, work from Nicole Eisenman’s Sketch for a Fountain has once again been damaged, according to a report in Monopol. On the night of Sunday 30 July another of the plaster and bronze figures in the installation was nearly decapitated and left with damage to the sculpture’s neck.

Previously, on July 20, it was discovered that the head of one of Eisenman’s figures had been knocked off and carried away in the night. The five surviving figures will continue to be shown on the edge of the promenade in Münster.

Nicole Eisenman, Sketch for a Fountain ©Skulptur Projekte 2017. Photo by Henning Rogge

Nicole Eisenman, Sketch for a Fountain ©Skulptur Projekte 2017. Photo Henning Rogge.

Since the project’s opening, on June 10, the decennial event has been plagued by like-minded miscreants.

On the night of June 17, news broke of one of the seven pixelated LED panels produced by Ei Arakawa for the project Harsh Citation, Harsh Pastoral, Harsh Münster had been stolen. The work was repaired and returned to the meadow in front of Haus Kump last Wednesday.

When asked by artnet News for comment, the organizers of Skulptur Projekte Münster were not phased by the slew of vandalism:

“It is quite normal that there are burglaries and vandalism in public spaces in general,” Judith Frey, public relations officer for the Projekte, told artnet News.

“In the last edition in 2007 we also had several cases, e.g. the caravan by Michael Asher and the speaker of the sound piece by Susan Philipsz were stolen. So we could not say that at this time there is an increase of these incidents. In 1987, the Madonna by Katharina Fritsch was also stolen.”

“It is speculative why these things are happening,” she concluded. “We would not like to exaggerate these incidents but concentrate on the topics of the artworks themselves.”


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