Urban Infiltrations
An editor's pick of three art interventions in public space in 2023
Editorial recommendation

Ruhr Ding: Schlaf, 2023. Nora Turato, who wants to tell her, 2023, Schwesternpark, Witten. Photography: Henning Rogge

Nora Turato, who wants to tell her, 2023

Last spring, Nora Turato’s whimsical language impressions were given free course in Witten’s oldest garden, the Schwesternpark (nurse’s parc), in the heart of the Ruhr region. Historically arranged in fourteen distinct landscapes, the location had the original purpose to provide a close retreat for the diversity of workers of the neighbouring hospital. Turato’s installation who wants to tell her (2023) was a sonic infiltration into the contemplative environment of the park, pondering on the limits between physical and mental space. Dispersed along the curves and alleys, a human voice with synthetic undertones hauntingly recited verses from daily conversations, abstracting their meaning through repetition and distortion. The immersive parcours was one of the many marking moments of the urban exhibition Ruhr Ding: Schlaf (2023), third and final chapter of a trilogy organised by Urbane Künste Ruhr. Curated by Britta Peters, the project was launched with Ruhr Ding: Territorien (2019) and expanded with Ruhr Ding: Klima (2021), tackling issues of land, structure, and identity that shape the region. The layered theme of sleep guiding the last edition was sensibly echoed in Turato’s soundscape, sparking a search for the intimate and unconscious out in the public sphere.

Ruhr Ding: Schlaf

by Urbane Künste Ruhr

Mülheim an der Ruhr, Essen, Witten, Gelsenkirchen, and on air

05/05 – 25/06/2023

With works by Wojciech Bąkowski, Maximiliane Baumgartner, Guy Dermosessian, God's Entertainment, Michel Gondry, Irena Haiduk, Katarina Jazbec, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Stephanie Lüning, Melanie Manchot, Nik Nowak, Yuri Pattison, Joanna Piotrowska, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Alicja Rogalska, Nora Turato, Viron Erol Vert and The Wig

Curated by Britta Peters

Ruhr Ding: Schlaf, Urbane Künste Ruhr, 2023. Nora Turato, who wants to tell her, 2023, Schwesternpark, Witten. Photography: Henning Rogge

Lisa Gutscher, Mud, 2023

During the new moon of August, a discreet monument temporarily rose from the earth beneath Frankfurt’s Main-Neckar Bridge. Hand-shaped with mud, as its title suggests, the piece by artist Lisa Gutscher formed a small arch akin to a gateway or passage. Inspired from the Japanese concept ‘Ma’ (間, lit. 'gap, space, pause’), which considers the negative space surrounding an object as inherently part of it, the emblematic portal became a marker around which people gathered for 24 hours. Mud (2023) was conceived as part of the project ‘Cards’, a nomadic series of interventions in open space curated by Andres Gorzycki. The project followed the logic of a game with basic rules: to use the public space, last only one day, and remain as simple as possible. A set of limitations aimed at fostering emancipatory approaches to art-making, privileging ephemeral experience over permanent structures. Gutscher’s sculptural gesture acted as a furtive opening to the here and now, reminding us that very little suffices to build solid connections.

Interventions in public space

Frankfurt am Main and Buenos Aires
15/05/2022 – ongoing

With works by Sebastián Garbrecht, Alina Perkins, Maximiliano Siñani, Clyde Conwell, Blaykyi Kenyah, Tomás Maglione, Mia Superstar, Felipe Alvarez Parisi, Commune 6x3, Jack Brennan, Lisa Gutscher, Sopo Kashakashvili and Nina Nadig
Curated by Andres Gorzycki

Cards, installation view, 2023. Lisa Gutscher, Mud, Main-Neckar-Brücke, Frankfurt am Main, 2023

Ahmet Öğüt, Monuments of the Disclosed, 2023

Walking by the Chinese Consulate in Frankfurt, most passersby would miss the floating bust of Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who was one of the first to warn about a series of irregular infections in Wuhan in early 2020. Li Wenliang eventually died of COVID-19, but his whistleblowing, heavily contested by the Chinese government, helped spread the word about this new disease. Part of the series Monuments of the Disclosed by artist Ahmet Öğüt, Li Wenliang’s monument inhabits the space in front of the consulate virtually. Accessed through the WAVA app, four other site-specific monuments augment different locations across Frankfurt. Conceived as part of the 175th-anniversary celebration of Germany's first general congressional assembly at the Paulskirche, the exhibition DEMO- (curated by Passe-Avant’s editor-at-large Ben Livne Weitzman) offers an invigorating way to reimagine public space artistic interventions in our virtually interconnected era.


An augmented exhibition by WAVA

Frankfurt am Main
12/05/2023 – 12/05/2024

With works by Morehshin Allahyari, Tony Cokes, Flaka Haliti, Ahmet Öğüt, Tamiko Thiel and /p, and Les Trucs
Curated by Ben Livne Weitzman

DEMO-, WAVA, 2023. Ahmet Öğüt, Monuments of the Disclosed, Li Wenliang, 2023, Chinese Consulate Frankfurt. Courtesy the artist, WAVA and Artwrld