Rebecca Horn’s Der Zwinger was a rerun of a site-specific, immersive installation Horn had contributed to a previous Munster Sculpture Project and which was resurrected for the 2007 Sculpture Project. The venue was an historic building and part of the documentation accompanying the exhibition included a photograph of the building from the Nazi era, the caption for the photograph draws the viewer’s attention to the swastika in the front window.
A plaque on the side of the building tells us that during the Second World War the Gestapo ordered a large number of Russian and Polish forced labourers to be interned for interrogation in Munster. The building Horn chose for her installation, called Der Zwinger (the kennel) was used from summer 1944 to at the beginning of of 1945 as a place of detention and execution where the Gestapo tortured and hanged the forced labourers. The plaque ends by stating that “it is our duty to remember and reconcile”.
One entered the building in darkness and was surrounded by short, sharp noises that in the context of the work sounded like an endless torrent of blows. When one’s eyes adapted to the light one could see mechanical hammers constructed by Horn and mounted all over the walls of Der Zwinger that would periodically swing themselves at a metal disk embedded in the wall making a short, sharp noise. You can see a video of the installation if you click here.