Thomas Schütte

Installation view 2017. Photo: Hubertus Huvermann

Installation view 2017. Photo: Hubertus Huvermann

Kirschensäule [Cherry Column]

1987, Skulptur Projekte in Münster 1987

Sandstone and lacquered aluminium sculpture

Height 6 m



Harsewinkelplatz, permanent installation



City of Münster

Thomas Schütte

* 1954 in Oldenburg, Germany
lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany

When during a tour around Münster during the 1980s Thomas Schütte visited Harsewinkelplatz, it was still a thoroughfare and parking area for cars. The city tolerated the chaotic and vibrant jumble of bicycle racks, parking meters, a few trees and telephone boxes. These random and unrestrained activities inspired Schütte to comment on the common exploitation of public art as a valorisation of squares and facades. As in much of his artistic work, the artist turned to the cartoon, employing exaggeration, excess, distortion and sarcasm to “garnish” the city of Münster with yet another sculpture.1

In the middle of the square, on the site where shortly before a large tree had stood, Schütte placed a monumental column of sandstone from the local Baumberge hills. Typical of the Münster region, this was also the material that was used in the construction of the cathedral and Prinzipalmarkt. The column consists of the conventional architectural elements base, shaft and capital, even if in unusual proportions to each other. Deliberately rather too bulky, the rounded capital recalls a board game figure, a candlestick or a chalice. The traditional material contrasts with the language of post-modern design for the base and a gaudy, shiny pair of cherries resting on the capital. The aluminium cherries lacquered bright red, their erotic sensuality, seductively crowning the centre of the square, also evoke associations with Pop Art.

The Kirschensäule [Cherry Column]’s design enables Schütte to comment on the wide range of potential qualities and functions that art in public space may possess, being not only a sculpture and a monument, but also a reference to the site of its installation. Furthermore, during the decades it has been there, it has not only become a symbol of the city, but also curiously provided the momentum for a structural redesign of the square. It is especially this development that underscores the irony of this work, as it was precisely the unusual structure and the architecture of the square that enabled the Kirschensäule [Cherry Column] to display its own absurdity, “garnishing” the urban environment both literally and figuratively.

Clara Napp

1Friedrich Meschede, Thomas Schütte oder die Macht der Kirschen. In: Klaus Bußmann, Kasper König, and Florian Matzner (eds.), Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997, exhib. cat.: Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster, Ostfildern-Ruit 1997, 380–383, here 382.


  • Still existing / Public Collection
  • Removed
  • In the museum

Other Participation

This artist also participated in: 1997 2007 2017