The sculpture 'Large Red Sphere' by Walter De Maria was installed in the Turkentor that has been renovated and remodelled by sauerbruch hutton architects. The building project could only be carried out as the Stiftung Pinakothek der Moderne contributed the majority of the construction funds necessary, once again enabling the completion of a project in the public domain.
The sculpture ‘Large Red Sphere’ of 2002 by the artist Walter De Maria (*1935) was acquired by the Udo and Anette Brandhorst Foundation in 2006. Installed in the Türkentor that has been renovated and remodelled by sauerbruch hutton architects, the sculpture will be opened to the public on 23 October, 2010. The building project could only be carried out as the Stiftung Pinakothek der Moderne contributed the majority of the construction funds necessary, once again enabling the completion of a project in the public domain.
What has now emerged is, as it were, a gesamtkunstwerk that represents a milestone in the development of the ‘Kunstareal’ museum complex.
Since 2001, the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen has been striving to secure a seminal work by Walter De Maria to provide a more intensive focus on installation art from the second half of the 20th century. To achieve this aim, the support of the Udo and Anette Brandhorst Foundation, which already owned a number of pieces by the artist, was secured. With ‘Large Red Square’ in the Türkentor the artist has gained a place of considerable prominence in the very city in which he produced a key installation in keeping with his ‘one room – one work’ principle back in 1968 – his ‘Earth Room’ in Heiner Friedrich’s gallery.
Walter De Maria suggested a sphere of polished red granite, forging a link to his earlier work on this geometrical shape. In 1990 he completed a comparable installation for the Assemblée Nationale in Paris, followed in 2000 and 2004 by works for two museums on Naoshima Island in Japan (Noashima Contemporary Art Museum: ‘Seen / Unseen Known / Unknown’; Chichu Art Museum: ‘Time / Timeless / No time’). In keeping with his concept, the Munich sphere – that is much larger than its ‘predecessors’ – is also closely related to its surrounding space. Reinhold Baumstark, the former Director General of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, decided on the Türkentor as a suitable site together with the artist. This fragment of the former Prinz-Arnulf Barracks from the early 19th century that has not be used for decades – also known locally as the ‘Türkenkaserne’ (Turks’ Barracks) as it adjoins Türkenstrasse – is situated between the Pinakothek der Moderne and the Museum Brandhorst, directly opposite the ‘Klenze Portal’ at the Alte Pinakothek, marking a unique position within this urban setting. Through the close cooperation between Walter De Maria and the architects Sauerbruch Hutton, and taking its historical fabric into consideration, the ruinous building was remodelled so that the sculpture and architecture relate to one another. Analagous to new requirements, the immediate vicinity of the ‘Türkentor’ has also gained a new appearance.
This crucial development has only been made possible thanks to the demonstration of unity between various partners within the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen: the Udo and Anette Brandhorst Foundation acquired the unique work of art, and the renovation and remodelling of the Türkentor were generously supported by the Stiftung Pinakothek der Moderne.
Walter De Maria’s ‘Large Red Sphere’ recalls an archetypal shape. The sphere is a universal symbol for the world, celestial bodies and the cosmos, and a symbol of eternal and cyclic renewal. Through its physical properties alone, its material, dimensions (diameter: 260 cm) and weight (25 tons), it has a powerful physical presence that is emphasised by two other factors. Firstly, the sphere rests on a three-tiered pedestal designed by the artist; secondly, it is surrounded by four columns that support a positively archaic-like beamed structure with countless nails – remnants of a former suspended ceiling within the Türkentor. It is difficult to imagine a greater discrepancy between the perfect, highly-polished sphere and the space’s shell, made up of a variety of different elements, shapes and materials, which has a decisive influence on the visual character of the whole. In addition, the surface of ‘Large Red Sphere’ that reflects its surroundings is in contrast to its material concretion. One of the prerequisites not only for looking at Walter De Maria’s work but also for experiencing its evocative strength in a contemplative way, is to be found in the duality between the internal and the external, the plasticity of its shape and, depending on where the visitor is standing, the view of the sphere as a whole that is always restricted. By placing ‘Large Red Sphere’ in such an utterly different cuboidal space which still bears many traces of the past, a place of aesthetic experience and historical visualisation has been created. And it is in this dialectic that what makes the cooperation between the artist and the architects so special can be found, namely a result that is clearly distinct from Walter De Maria’s earlier works although certain parallels to ‘The Broken Kilometer’ (1979) in New York cannot be dismissed.
Walter De Maria’s ‘Large Red Sphere’ in the Türkentor enriches Kunstareal in Munich in an extraordinarily succinct manner and forms an important hinge between the Pinakotheken and the Museum Brandhorst.
Press Dept. at the Pinakothek Museums
Tine Nehler M.A. | Head of the Press Dept.
Pinakothek der Moderne and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
Kunstareal | Barer Strasse 29, 80799 Munich
T +49.(0)89.23805-1320 | F +49.(0)89.23805-125
Opening October 23, noon–6 pm
Turkenstrasse 17, Kunstareal in Munich
from 24 October 2010 every day except mon.