Artists Biennial News Germany

Gregor Schneider's labyrinthine work pulled from Ruhr triennial

Duisburg mayor rules work could create panic four years after 21 killed in Love Parade stampede

There were fears Gregor Schneider's installation would create a sense of disorientation (© Linda Nylind)

The mayor of the German city of Duisburg has rejected an installation by Gregor Schneider, which was due to open on 15 August as a highlight of the Ruhrtriennale arts festival. Mayor Sören Link made his decision in the wake of a tragedy four years ago, when 21 young people were killed and more than 500 injured during a stampede at a Love Parade music festival in the city.

Schneider’s installation, Totlast (Deadweight), would have involved a series of labyrinthine tubes inserted into the interior and surrounding park of the Lehmbruck Museum. Visitors were meant to walk through the narrow tubes, which would have required stooping and could have caused claustrophobia.

Over the past few months, discussions were held between the triennial and the city’s building control office on safety measures, which were nearing a solution. However, after much thought, Link decided against the project. He feared that Totlast could create disorientation and panic, and “the wounds of Love Parade are not yet healed”.

The Ruhrtriennale, the Lehmbruck Museum and the artist are all highly critical of the way the project has been handled by the city. Discussions are now taking place on commissioning Schneider to create another work for the triennial, possibly in the Ruhr city of Bochum.

UPDATE 24 JULY: Following Duisburg’s recent decision to ban Schneider’s installation in the city’s Lehmbruck Museum, the artist is moving his project to Bochum, 30 kilometres to the east. At Bochum’s Kunstmuseum, the main entrance will be closed, and visitors will go in through a large ‘‘waste pipe’’ tunnel, passing into hidden spaces within the building which are normally inaccessible. Schneider describes it as a trip into ‘‘a remote world within the museum’’. Entitled Kunstmuseum, the installation for the Ruhrtriennale runs from 29 August to 12 October.


Schneider's design for Totlast
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