Standort Merry-go[-]round [Location Merry-go-round]
Used, rough wooden planks, razor barbed wire
On the Promenade at Mauritztor / corner Fürstenbergstrasse next to the war memorial to the soldiers killed in the wars of German unification by Bernhard Frydag. Temporary installation for the duration of the exhibition Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997
* 1936 in Cologne, Germany
lives and works in New York, USA
Directly alongside Bernhard Frydag’s “Ehrenmal am Mauritztor” (war memorial) Hans Haacke erected a children’s carousel, then boarded it up behind a cylindrical wall of used, rough wooden planks topped with razor barbed wire. Occasional narrow gaps between some of the planks afforded glimpses of the carousel spinning round and round and of the light shining from a light organ. One could also hear fairground music through the slits, which on closer listening proved to be the German national anthem. Visitors were denied the fun of the merry-go-round ride.
Frydag’s war memorial is nicknamed the “Mäsentempel” in Münster – local slang meaning ‘temple of arses’ – since the larger-than-life stone figures surrounding the memorial have their behinds bared to the outside world. Haacke incorporated the walling-off of the memorial’s compact body. He undermined the nationalist pathos of this commemoration by creating a direct analogy with the children’s carousel. He contrasted the fairground pleasure with the identificational function of the memorial. By reminding us of the monument’s political implications Haacke also exposed the constantly rehashed “drone” of nationalist founding myths as vacuous fiction, laying bare the banality of such pathos formulae set in stone.
- Still existing / Public Collection
- In the museum