Julius von Bismarck is one of the first artists to have been invited to develop a new work for the Emscherkunstweg, which was inaugurated in 2019. Together with the artist and architect Marta Dyachenko he conceived the installation »Neustadt« (New City), which is located on a grassy area in Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord, between the Alter Emscher river, the cycle track Grüner Pfad (Green trail) and the A42 motorway.
Altogether 23 sculptures make up a fictive town that has been assembled from 1:25-scale models of various real buildings in the Ruhr region which have been demolished since 2000. The choice of types and functions of building was not based on any rigorous system but followed aesthetic and sculptural criteria and the wish to show a cross-section of local urban architecture.
In addition to a block of flats from Essen dating back to the gründerzeit period, there is, for instance, a residential complex from a former model estate in Marl built in 1965, while further residential units in a prefab plattenbau style speak of social history in the 1970s. The Paulskirche church in Duisburg or St. Joseph’s Church in the Kupferdreh district of Essen, built in 1904 in neo-Gothic style and torn down in 2015, are both examples of the social change that has also taken place within religious congregations. The sculptures of the Volkshochschule (adult education centre) in Essen with its unusual tiered architecture and washed concrete reliefs on the façade, or of the indoor swimming pool in Marl – once celebrated examples of post-war architectural modernity – raise questions as to the relationship between preservation and demolition.
The sculptural installation has been consciously integrated into what appears to be fallow land, yet which in fact was landscaped as part of the IBA (International Architecture Exhibition) Emscher Park in the 1990s, and thus – in addition to the dramatic shifts in scale – reflects the relationship between nature and culture. »Neustadt« evokes numerous associations and memories, but also prompts us to explore questions about urban planning as well as the environment, which likewise are mirrored on a broader scale in the structural change of the Ruhr region and the Emscher river conversion.
From Duisburg Hauptbahnhof (main station), take the 903 tram (towards Dinslaken station) to the stop at Theodor-Heuss-Strasse, then continue on foot for about 200 m, before turning left onto the »Grüner Pfad« (Green trail), passing beneath the motorway underpass.
The artwork is located between the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord, the Emscherpromenade and the »Grüner Pfad«, in northeast of the big parking spot.
Installation in several parts, consisting of 22 sculptures of buildings
Concrete, steel, stainless steel, acrylic glass, variable dimensions
As part of the artistic concept, the building sculptures were transported by barge from Berlin to Duisburg.
The cooperation partners opened the plant together in April 2021: Prof. Dr. Uli Paetzel, Marta Dyachenko, Britta Peters, Dr. Vera Battis-Reese, Julius von Bismarck, Karola Geiß-Netthöfel (from left to right).