Friday 10 May 2019

Art of Düsseldorf

On this trip I’m being hosted by the German National Tourist Office and Düsseldorf Tourism.

I had a few days to explore western Germany before attending this year’s Germany Travel Mart, a big travel trade event being held in Wiesbaden. So I looked over the map, picked out towns and cities scattered around Frankfurt, and decided on a visit to Düsseldorf.

One of the things that attracted me to the big D is its contemporary art scene. Heavily bombed in World War II, the city has its historic treasures but it’s also a very modern place architecturally and artistically. Checking out its art scene seemed a good fit.

I started on my first partly-jetlagged day with K21, a big contemporary art gallery within a grand 19th century building which was once the parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, the state Düsseldorf sits within. Its main exhibit is this installation by Tomás Saraceno, called In Orbit:


Inspired by the tensile strength of spider’s webs, it’s a network of steel cables and spheres which visitors can enter and clamber around.

In the floors below are a number of other exhibits, all contemporary and often challenging. Here are a few works that caught my eye:

In the afternoon I visited a second gallery of a smaller and more unusual nature. Called Kunst Im Tunnel (KIT), it’s a big spare exhibition space within what was once a maintenance tunnel used in the construction of an underground freeway. Cleaned up, it’s become a boutique institution which shows several exhibitions a year.

The large empty concrete walls provide a good place to hang art, and the simple bare-bones chamber lends concentration to those viewing it. Here are a few works that stood out for me:

The one with the scaffold, See You Around, is by local artist Arisa Purkpong, and I found it fascinating to look at, with its seemingly incomplete collection of memories from travel and a life.

There’s more art to see around Düsseldorf over the next few days. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this curious bollard that stands across the street from my hotel, the funky Me And All:

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