Marta Open Air
Art all around the Museum
Spring to autumn 2021

Under the heading of “Marta Open Air”, the museum work is extended outdoor. As of spring 2021 the grounds of the museum will be transformed into a living venue for art, inviting people to spend some time, discover and join in – socially distanced, outdoors and at any time. In their contributions, the artists engage with the perception of the space and the challenging Gehry architecture.


Even when the museum is closed, “Marta Open Air” is free of charge and accessible without restrictions. The program offers lots of scope for strolls, discoveries and the enjoyment of art. It includes sculptures, installations and participative exhibits, as well as a screen presentation that brings the art exhibited inside the museum outside to the visitors.

Up to autumn 2021 the tour around the museum is to be steadily extended, thus promoting a living dialogue between art, architecture, nature and the visitors. As an extension to the existing Audioguide (only available in German), which covers many of the works outside, the works are to be made not only experienceable in real life but also digitally accessible.

Wolfgang Ellenrieder’s “Zapfen” in the “Public Street”, directly at the side entrance, offers an unexpected encounter. Even if you can’t enter the museum, you can see it through the glass on the car park – which almost makes you feel as if you were observing something hidden.

At “Marta Open Air”, however, it’s about expanding the limits of the museum space and rethinking the accessibility of works of art. This is also the central theme in Wolfgang Ellenrieder’s project “AMA / air mail art”. In this he created a series of works that can be packed in small parcels and sent without any great expense to institutions, galleries or private individuals where they can be blown up on site to unfold their actual size and weight.

What at first glance appears as if chiselled in stone turns out to be a taut plastic surface with pencil drawings printed on it. The Zapfen (or pine cone) was created while the artist was studying at the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome, and alludes to the classical Italian motif that populates not only cultural sites but also the souvenir shops as a symbol of fertility.

A basketball hoop hangs on the curved façade of the museum building by Frank Gehry. At a height of exactly 305 centimetres, it corresponds to the standards for professional basketball, but there is something that irritates: the net of “Neverendingstory”, which extends down to the ground, is far too long, which robs the basket of its function as an item of sports equipment. If a ball were to land in the net, the game would immediately be over. With this absurd variation of an everyday article, the artist Robert Barta has created a metaphor for processes that simply won’t stop – not unlike the current coronavirus pandemic, which has also been a special challenge for artists. With a wink of the eye, however, his absurd article also calls on us to take a more relaxed view of things.

No monitoring! No fire hazard! On the car park beside the museum stands a trailer with a superstructure that looks like a mobile home. The window is closed by a shutter which occasionally moves. Sometimes there is a little light through the cracks, or we hear noises, but we never see what’s going on inside. Instead, the camera on the roof occasionally begins to smoke. The identical scene is repeated almost compulsively, and we have a vague feeling somewhere between uncertainty and a sense of absurdity. The strange constructions in the work by Andreas Fischer almost all bear signs of wear. For this purpose the artist uses scrapped appliances or found materials. By breathing new life into them, he is not only satirizing the consumer society, but also the heroic to totalitarian character of technology.

In three short videos that refer to actual places on the Marta grounds, the artist Nezaket Ekici invites people to become part of the performance. The clip “Crema” turns the arm into a whirling stirrer; in “Imagine”, the idea is to pick imaginary apples while dancing Flamenco. The video “Hullabelly” encourages people to swing their heads and their hips – almost like a belly dancer.

To get to the videos, simply scan in the QR code with your mobile phone, place it on the wooden holder and off you go: “Click & Perform”!

Andreas Schmid uses coloured adhesive tape and strings to trace the unusual architecture on the Marta grounds. He thus connects the curved brick façade of the museum and the adjacent utility building of the Marta Depot with the spatial surroundings. With his precise interventions the artist, sets up new visual axes and sharpens the perception of proportions. The obvious suddenly becomes incidental. Interstices are shifted into the focus, and details playfully examined. The harmonization of opposites and the deliberate limitation to a reduced language of form are essential starting points of his artistic approach.




Marta partners
Many thanks to the Marta Herford Corporate Partners and Corporate Premium Partners as well as the Marta Fund for New Art for their ongoing support of our program.