Sculpture Mile – The tour

If you walk through Mönchengladbach you will come across a variety of art works in public squares, in parks, outside buildings, and in hidden inner courtyards. There are no fewer than 50 sculptures along the 5.7 km sculpture trail which includes the sculpture garden at Abteiberg Museum as well as existing sculptures.

The tour

The ‘art mile’ runs from the Geroweiher lake over the Abteiberg to the Bunter Garten and then back along Bettrather Straße, Sandradstraße and Alter Markt to the Geropark.

The sculpture mile starts in the sculpture garden.  Access: via a stairway from Weiherstraße, from Spatzenberg (steep slope), from Abteistraße via a stairway; please note that there are also steps in the Abteigarten (Abbey Garden).

Parking: good places to park: Geroweiher / Weiherstraße car park

"Bodenaustausch" (Soil exchange) -
Vaago Weiland

The small steel boxes (2002) serve as signposts along the entire sculpture mile. Inside are soil samples from the Niers art trail. The visitor thus has the possibility of imagining both paths at the same time. On the 20 km-long Art Nature Trail along the River Niers there are identical boxes to draw attention to the Sculpture Mile.

"Die Frau" - Georg Ettl

With his 9.30 m high sculpture (2002), which was installed as part of the “Sculpture Mile” in Geropark in front of the St. Vitus Minster Basilica, artist Georg Ettl set a monument to contemporary art for the “woman herself”. The steel lady with flowing hair and high heels otherwise follows Ettl’s typical style with clear and reduced forms, for which he became famous worldwide.

"Johannes and Sophia" -
Renate Fellner

The two bronze sculptures (1998) by the sculptor Renate Fellner are located in front of and in the music school. Sophia listens spellbound to Johannes, who is completely absorbed in his violin playing.

"Karl Fegers Memoriam" -
Georg Ettl

This sculpture (1990) also contains music – it was dedicated to the composer and founder of the music school Karl Fegers – and is therefore located in the atrium of the music school. The golden mouthpiece of a trumpet illustrates the connection between man and music – otherwise the silhouette bears no resemblance to the musician Fegers.

"Pointes et Courbes" -
Alexander Calder

The sculpture “Points and Curves” (1970) by Alexander Calder is located in front of the Museum Abteiberg. The massive steel plates have an impressive size of 350 x 600 x 450 cm – all the more astonishing how the artist managed to extract pointed and rounded shapes, spatial situations, figurative allusions and abstract elements from them.

"Museum" -
Thomas Rentmeister

What is a huge motorway sign doing in the middle of the pedestrian zone? After the demolition of a garage courtyard in 2002, it found its place at Abteistraße / corner of Krichelstraße and from there it points the way to the museum on winding paths.

"Youth and old age" -
Hein Minkenberg

The two life-size sculptures (1927) in sandstone are from the expressionist early work of the sculptor Hein Minkenberg. Although many of these works fell victim to the National Socialists’ extermination under the propaganda “Degenerate Art”, these sculptures have been preserved – since 1983 they have been located in front of the Stiftisch-Humanist Grammar School on Abteistraße.

"Monument to Hans Jonas" -
Karl Burgeff

Hans Jonas was born in Mönchengladbach and was a Jewish philosopher. After the National Socialists came to power he emigrated first to London, then to Jerusalem and fought on the Israeli side in the Second World War. Later he emigrated to the USA. He received various awards for his work, including the Great Federal Cross of Merit and honorary citizenship of Mönchengladbach. His bronze monument (1997) is enthroned on a 2.50 m high column in the park named after him next to the Haus Erholung.

Sculpture by Eva Weinelt

The nameless work of art made of steel (2002), which stands in front of the Minto at the corner of Kleiststraße and Steinmetzstraße, shows two geometrically interdependent bodies. According to the artist, the theme of the work is the “tension between rationally set order and its perceptibility.

"Eva II" - Gerhard Marcks

The bronze, 165 cm tall lady, who poses at Adenauerplatz, was created between 1944 and 1947. A first, unfinished version of the figure was damaged during bombing raids on Berlin. To protect it from further destruction it was buried by Americans – and later completed by Gerhard Marcks.

"Stehende" (Standing) -
Eugène Dodeigne

In addition to “Eva II”, Adenauerplatz is the site of other important works. For example, the “Stehende” (1964) by the French artist Eugène Dodeigne can also be found there. As an observer, one has the feeling of being allowed to take part in the process of creating the sculpture: The 2.50 m tall figure is only schematically carved out of the stone – as is typical for the sculptor’s other later works.

"Doppelform" (Double Form) - Carel Visser

The “double form”, which can also be found on Adenauerplatz, was created between 1957 – 58 and is part of a group of six works by the artist Carel Visser. The figure, also known as “twins”, is composed of a number of different symmetrical elements. Particularly exciting is a circumambulation of the sculpture made of iron, which looks completely different from different angles.

Sculpture by Ernst Hermanns

The special nature of this sculpture (1967/76) by Ernst Hermanns can only be appreciated when viewed 360°. Similar to a prism, the triangular basic shape of the five symmetrically arranged hollow bodies changes the appearance of the sculpture on Adenauerplatz as soon as the angle of view is changed.

"Facade, three portals and a cock" - Georg Ettl

Before its renovation (1985), the Albertus Church with its white-tiled façade was truly no gem. In an interview Ettl told us that the church had always reminded him of the sausage kitchen in his uncle’s butcher’s shop. He was happy to have been given the opportunity to participate in the redesign of the church façade, including the portals and the weathercock.

It is also worth taking a look inside the church with its artistic glass windows. You can find a separate tour here.

"Chorbild" - Beate Selzer

Stop for a moment and look up at the façade of the Stadtbibliothek (Adenauerplatz). In 2002, this was visually enhanced by the choral painting by Beate Selzer. The artist used the architectural features of the tiled wall to incorporate the 38 picture panels, which are arranged one below the other, into its structure. The relationship between the laws of man and architecture is effective.

"Lichtstele" - Heinz Mack

The “Bunter Garten” behind the Kaiser-Friedrich-Halle is Mönchengladbach’s jewel of botanical garden art – and at the same time the site of a wide variety of sculptures. The most monumental work with a height of 14.5 m is the “Lichtstele” (1970) by Heinz Mack. The reflective metal plates on the surface refract the light in a variety of ways and thus bring movement to the steel object; entirely in keeping with “ZERO” – a pioneering art movement of which Mack is a co-founder.

"Torso" & Figur in zwei Teilen" - Wolfgang Hahn

A bit hidden, on a plateau above Beethovenstraße in the Bunte Garten, you can find the two sculptures “Torso” (2001) and “Figur in zwei Teilen” (Figure in two parts) (2002) by the Mönchengladbach artist Wolfgang Hahn. Like most of Wolfgang Hahn’s works, these two sculptures are also made of basalt lava.

"Schwebende Pyramide" -
Günther Zins

The pyramid (2002) made of aluminium tubes “floats” in the treetops of the “Bunten Garten”, held by stainless steel cables. Depending on the weather, the ropes are hardly visible, which makes the floating effect all the more impressive. The light reflections of the linear steel sculpture are an eye-catcher at any time of day or night.

"Erdkugel" (Globe) - Sandra Robertz

The cast-iron globe in the “Bunten Garten” offers a slightly different perspective on our planet: The five equal-sized parts stand for the individual continents and an equal coexistence – regardless of their actual area, economic importance or population density. (Photo by: Ulrike Coenen)

"Sonnensucher" (Sun Seeker) -
Anne-Marie Rommerskirchen

The little man, who sticks his nose up to the sky, caused quite a stir during his installation in the “Bunte Garten” in 1950 – the nudity of the figure was perceived as revealing and daring. Two weeks later the sculpture disappeared without a trace. It was suspected that angry citizens had removed it. Later, however, it turned out that two young people had smashed it due to lack of money in order to sell the bronze. In the same year the figure was renewed.

Sculpture by Ulrich Brinkmann

Ulrich Brinkmann’s Stele (2000) conveys straight lines from afar, and when approaching it one notices the lightning-like split centre. Originally, the stele was only to be exhibited temporarily, but the inhabitants of the adjacent Peter-Nonnenmühlen-Allee were so enthusiastic about it that they spontaneously acquired it and it could thus remain in the “Bunten Garten” permanently.

"Passion" - Werner Jacobs

The seven steles (2000) flanking a path in the “Bunten Garten” symbolise the seven stations of Christ’s Way of the Cross. Only their upper sides are worked and show different forms of the cross. For the artist the cross is not only a symbol of the Christian faith, but also a sign of a personal centre in which he finds support, strength and peace.

"Sitz" (seat) - Wolfgang Hahn

The “seating furniture” made of basalt lava by artist Wolfgang Hahn is intended to invite walkers in the Botanical Garden to pause and linger. (Photo by: Wolfgang Hahn)

"Harmonia Sanitatis" - Heinz Mack

Even though this building on Sandradstraße no longer houses a hospital, the sculpture by Heinz Mack (2002) installed in front of it still reminds us of its former purpose: to reconcile the physical and mental health of patients. The inner balance results in the stability of the body.

"Drei Stufen" (Three steps) - Heinz Mack

The last stations of the sculpture mile lead into Mönchengladbach’s old town. The monumental work “Drei Stufen” (Three steps, 1986) on Kapuzinerplatz consists of three wedges. Each wedge consists of a different material and was therefore worked on using different techniques. The work of art is impressive not only because of its size and shape, but also because of its functionality: it also conceals the ventilation shaft of an underground car park.

Brunnen (well) - Erwin Heerich

It is no coincidence that the historic Gladbach developed around the “Alte Markt”. The existence of a well ensured the supply of drinking water to the citizens. Even if they are no longer needed in this function today, the wells are still an integral part of the townscape. The 5.50 m high fountain is the work of the sculptor Erwin Heerich, who died in 2004. The main theme of the fountain, which was installed in 1977 and is made of polished Belgian granite, is the interplay of the basic forms circle and square.

"Vitusbrunnen" - Peter Haak

Today the figure of St. Vitus, created by sculptor Peter Haak in 1961, stands on a stele in front of the City Church – it used to be part of another fountain on the “Alter Markt”. Other works by Haak include the abstracted angel figures made of shell limestone, which can be found in the choir hall of St. Vitus’ Cathedral.

"Tower of Babel" -
Thomas Virnich

The Tower of Babel is the biblical story of man’s attempt to become godlike by creating a monumental building. God punished them for this by giving them different languages and thus preventing them from completing the building. Thomas Virnich takes up this story and adapts it in his sculpture (2002) (in front of the city hall) to a critique of the “conceptual abilities of man” and the “durability of his products”. (Source: www.thomasvirnich.de)

Gargoyle "Snake" -
Thomas Virnich

Although the first foundation building of the Münster Basilica dates back to before 1000 B.C., it was not until the 14th century that it acquired its present form. As was customary at the time, the façade was decorated with a series of demon-like figures designed to frighten off evil: the gargoyles. In 1998/99, when two of the eleven figures had to be replaced, artist Thomas Virnich suggested that the head and tail of a snake be placed on the diagonally opposite pillars. This gives the impression that a huge reptile is winding around the church.

It is also worth taking a look inside the basilica with its artistically designed glass windows. You can find a separate tour here.

"Finnischer Granit gespalten" -
Ulrich Rückriem

The stairs of the cathedral lead back to the Geropark – and to the work of Ulrich Rückriem. The stone block was first split into 7 parts and then reassembled to its original form. The total height of the object is 4.20 m – one meter of which is below ground level.