The moon in Alabama by internationally renowned artist Tobias Rehberger is the first project of the new iniziative Münster. Art + Public that was launched in 2013, the city in the name of its commitment to «art in public spaces».
With his unusual objects created around the unsightly grey distribution boxes in the neighbourhood of the main railway station, Tobias Rehberger aimed to set completely new accents in the urban context. All eleven «stations» were officially opened at a special event on 1 June 2014.
The ubiquitous but generally disregarded distribution boxes house the hidden circuitry below the surface of urban life that keeps the communication and traffic flows running smoothly. By way of experiment, the ISG Bahnhofsviertel Münster e. V. – a local business initiative – and the City of Münster gave the go-ahead for an artistic intervention involving the distribution boxes. As a result, the internationally renowned artist Tobias Rehberger, familiar to many through his famous bar installation Günter’s (wiederbeleuchtet), which was one of the highlights of the Sculpture Projects Münster 1997, has been commissioned to subject a number of the distribution boxes to an artistically inspired makeover, transforming the grey cubes into highly imaginative seating arrangement and giving eyecatching new accents to the street scene in the station quarter of the city.
Like living vegetation, pipes grow out of the ground and entwine themselves around the hitherto unprepossessing grey boxes, turning the notion of the cabling and connections that prevail inside the boxes into a tangible, and indeed highly visible, styling element. In this way, the City of Münster will find itself in possession of eleven new sculptural attractions, and each of them different. The first two of the eleven sculptures were already presented to the public in autumn 2013.
The desire of the artist is for the installations to transform «non-places» into living locations where people find it a pleasure to be. The eleven chosen distribution boxes are encased in a tubular construction and are specifically designed to invite people to come and sit down, making them places to meet or rest, surrounded by the urban bustle. And there’s more: To add a touch of the romantic, each one is shown down upon by its own moon. This is, though, not completely without irony. While the moon is generally the symbol for sentimental nocturnal pleasure or pain – each of Rehberger’s artificial moons only comes on when the moon rises in the city to which it is matched. So in this way, the idea of the connections embodied by the function of the distribution boxes is taken one step further to form a kind of global networking system, watched over in future by the moon – or more precisely, the several Münster moons of Tobias Rehberger.
Talking about the project, the artist himself states: «I did indeed find the idea of doing something with the distribution boxes in Münster a little bit strange at first. But as in the case of my work for the Sculpture Projects 1997, I then saw it as a challenge to transform these «non-places», which you normally simply blank out from your perception like blind spots, into sites with a certain quality and so in fact make them «places» at all» (from the press release).
(cover) Tobias Rehberger, Bahnhofstr, courtesy Roman Mensing (1) Tobias Rehberger, Achtermannstr, courtesy Roman Mensing (2) Tobias Rehberger, Urbanstr, courtesy Roman Mensing.