Emscher Art 2010
An Island for the Arts

Walking House / Photo: Emschergenossenschaft/ N55Walking House / Photo: Emschergenossenschaft/ N55

Walking House / Photo: Emschergenossenschaft/ N55

The biggest art project of the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 begins at the end of May. It is scheduled to last 100 days and, under the name "Emscher Art 2010" will be on show at the chosen site of Emscher Island, a venue that could hardly be more unusual.

The sights along the Emscher have, for many a year, represented the least attractive side of the Ruhr region. So it is specifically here that, for the last 20 years, a huge project has been underway under the auspices of the Emscher Association in order to regenerate the River Emscher while at the same time creating a prototype of cooperative regional planning.

The International Building Exhibition Emscher Park of the 1990s established the framework for transforming the landscape and redefining a huge swathe of land now known as the Emscher Landscape Park. And now this process is being continued with the Emscher transformation project. Along the Emscher and its subsidiaries, concrete-lined wastewater channels are being renaturised as revitalised streams - in what is currently the largest renaturisation project in the world. Difficult to imagine? Those who still today do not believe it are invited to see for themselves the "Wonder of the Emscher" in 2010. Emscher Island is at the heart of the New Emscher Valley. The narrow stretch of land between the Emscher and the Rhine-Herne Canal extends 34 kilometres between Castrop-Rauxel and Oberhausen.

The "Emscher Art 2010" project to be held in the cultural capital year heralds an exhibition that will enable visitors to experience for themselves this changing space. 40 artists are to create 20 works employing different skills and disciplines. At the most unusual locations on the island, for example at the sluice gates, in the canal or on industrial wasteland, visitors will come across such widely varied items as a "hobby twitter" ornithological station, a "singing" rock, a community garden and even an itinerant Punch-and-Judy show. Internationally renowned artists such as Rita McBridge, Jeppe Hein, Tobias Rehberger or Tadashi Kawamata, plus students of the Münster Academy of Art, have taken on the responsibility of providing the site with meaningful content.

In the exhibition organised by curator Florian Matzner, art in public spaces with an urban slant and also aspects of garden/horticultural art and landscaping will all have a role to play.

2010 will also see, for example, the creation of a monumental wall mosaic on the outer shell of the former digestion tower in Herne (Silke Wagner) and a sunken garden in a former sewage treatment basin in Bottrop (Piet Oudolf and Eelco Hooftman). Many projects are being devised not only for viewing but also for participation and creative involvement. The exhibition can be reached by boat, bicycle and car.

The European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 will see the start of an exhibition which, as a biennial in the following years, will celebrate the entire New Emscher Valley in the centre of the Ruhr Metropolis with high-quality art projects. "Emscher Art 2010" will also extend beyond the cultural capital year, making a permanent contribution to the structural change taking place in the Ruhr Metropolis and to the theme of "Art in Public Spaces".

The exhibition will be opened by the Minister-President of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia as part of a gala ceremony to be held on 29 May 2010.

Island Tour
Far from being uninhabited, the Emscher Island boasts housing, parkland, allotments, sports facilities and many adventure, rest and recuperation possibilities ready to be discovered. And from April 2010, previously "uncharted" areas of the island are to be made more readily accessible with existing facilities being supplemented by new zones of tranquility, vantage points and, designed by Herne artist Beate Matkey, a number of delightful picnic areas. A continuous, 44 kilometre long network of paths interlinks these sites and facilities of the island with those of the "Emscher Art 2010" exhibition and the "Culture Canal" experience. A cycling tour map and a signage system along the path will ensure that no one loses their way.

May 29 - September 5,2010
10 am - 7 pm
Curator: Prof. Dr. Florian Matzner
Emscher Island permanently open on a daily basis
Admission free

Waiting on the river
Waiting is boredom, procrastination and lethargy. Waiting is thinking things over, wild ideas and euphoria. What will happen? What else does waiting mean? To you personally or within the culture in which you live and work? Is waiting standstill or motion? We offer you the comfort of a mountain chalet, including private bedrooms, a toilet, washing facilities, breakfast and an evening meal, for the price of €90 per person for two or three people or €75 per person for four or more people. During the day you'll share the bridge and the pavilions with exhibition visitors; after 7 p.m. you'll have the area to yourself. Your personal items can be stored in a lockable pavilion.

Information and reservations: info@observatorium.org


Visitor Centre
Open from 29 May to 5 September, the EMSCHER ART 2010 Visitor Centre provides information about the exhibition and how to explore it. The EMSCHER ART 2010 guidebook can also be obtained here for a nominal charge of € 4.95 (free on the first day).

EMSCHER ART 2010 Visitor Centre
Blaues Pumpwerk
Nordsternpark Gelsenkirchen
45899 Gelsenkirchen


Guided tours
Guided tours with differing start and finish points are offered every Sunday. The tours are free and registration is not required.
Personal guided tours (subject to a charge) may be booked here:

Partners: Emscher Association, Regionalverband Ruhr, State Chancellery NRW, MUNLV NRW, MBV NRWMain project sponsor: Kramer Bauunternehmung GmbH + Co KGRelated topics: Culture CanalTadashi Kawamata

More information: www.emscherkunst.de

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