Guillaume Bijl

Installation view 2007 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017. Photo: Roman Mensing /

Installation view 2007 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017. Photo: Roman Mensing /

Archaeological Site (A Sorry Installation)



Concrete, brickwork, turf, mesh fence, slate shingles, metal weathercock 670 x 670 cm

Height of the church steeple: 400 cm



Sentruper Höhe between Mühlenhof open-air museum and Allwetterzoo.

Temporary installation, covered over in April 2015. Since then the work has been concealed beneath a grass-covered hill



Guillaume Bijl

* 1946 in Antwerp, Belgium

lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium


The anecdote about a church in Antwerp that was accidentally rediscovered during the construction of a container park gave Guillaume Bijl the idea for his work Archaeological Site (A Sorry Installation). The tip of the Antwerp church spire was allegedly the only remnant left visible after the excavations and construction work. Thus, Bijl pursued the idea that there might be another church – buried or a victim of the passage of time – waiting to be discovered in Münster.

For skulptur projekte münster 07 the artist dug a cubic pit on the raised ground of Sentruper Höhe near Aasee. Inside it he installed a slate-tiled church steeple along with its weathercock.

Even if at first sight the excavation site suggested the presence of an impressive find, on closer inspection it quickly became clear that this was an artificial reconstruction – “a non-reality in reality”1. With his fictional installation Bijl created a foil not only for cultural tourism and the great number of churches in Münster but also for their public reception. This perspective assumed concrete form when his contribution turned into a true tourist magnet. Although in April 2015 the shaft with the church steeple was filled in following thorough considerations of the artist and the 2007 curatorial team, it is still realistically possible to uncover the project again at any time – in which case it would then become an authentic excavation.

Ronja Primke

1 Guillaume Bijl, “Guillaume Bijl [–] Archaeological Site (A Sorry Installation)”, in: Brigitte Franzen, Kasper König and Carina Plath (eds.), sculpture projects muenster 07, exhib. cat. LWL-Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster, Cologne, 2007, p. 49 


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