Esch-sur-Alzette, European Capital of Culture 2022, opened a new space for contemporary art in the fall of 2021 with a major solo show by artist Gregor Schneider. Under the leitmotif of transformation, Esch has set out to bring about lasting change to the former industrial city, known until the Second World War as the metropolis of the iron industry. The Konschthal also has this transformative approach anchored in its DNA. A former furniture store is its location, it is continuously transformed by artists and their site-specific interventions, which creative director Christian Mosar brings to Esch. For Gregor Schneider, the Luxembourg region bears analogies to his hometown of Mönchengladbach-Rheydt, an open-cast mining area in search of a new identity.
The art historian and curator Raimund Stecker - director of the Kunstverein at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf from 1993 to 2000 - has accompanied Gregor Schneider's artistic work for more than 30 years and was one of the first to visit Schneider's House u r in Mönchengladbach-Rheydt. Within the framework of their ongoing dialogue and on the occasion of the artist's exhibition in Esch, the idea for this publication was born.
Its subtitle may sound cryptic, but it reveals profound sides of Schneider's art: Natascha Kampusch - Dr. Goebbels - Professor Schneider.
Raimund Stecker draws parallels between the memories of the tenant Hannelore Reuen, in Gregor Schneider's Haus u r and the history of Natascha Kampusch, imprisoned for over eight years in a dungeon near Vienna. He sheds light on the neighborhood between Schneider's Haus u r and the birthplace of Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Goebbels, on which white flags of surrender were hoisted in 1945. He concludes that Schneider's "collecting of spaces," which is always preceded by an exploration, appropriation, and recreation, is a profound forensic activity.
Gregor Schneider is a professor of sculpture at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Raimund Stecker a professor of art history at the HBK Essen in Wuppertal. The moderator of the talk is Sabine Maria Schmidt, curator at the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, art critic and author.