Art inside and out and around about

The Zone
In the wood at the edge of the convent grounds the artist Dagmar Demming set up a sound-and-light installation during the Sculpture Biennale of 2001. She travelled as a ‘fairy’ through the municipality of Steinfurt and asked people of different ages, social background and origin the obligatory fairytale question of the three wishes. Dagmar Demming assembled a collage of approximately 500 calmly expressed wishes into an enigmatic, poetic installation with state-of-the-art lighting technology. The closing remarks in the project description should be understood as ‘operating instructions’ for the artwork: ‘Becoming aware of one’s own wishes means being on the way to fulfilling them.’

The labyrinth
Quite different emotions are awakened by the labyrinth Waiting for the Barbarians, by the South African artist Kendell Geers. There was quite a commotion when construction began on this maze of security fencing and barbed wire in the early summer of 2001. Many people found it ‘ugly, threatening, repellent,’ and so on – a controversy that is certainly intended by the artist. His artistic strategy is based on exactly calculated elements of shock which confront the perceptual habits of the viewer with unsettling images. But the labyrinth is also a work that relates to the history of the place: ‘Even before I reached the area I knew that my work would connect to the Thirty Years’ War – how could it not?’ So the labyrinth is also a metaphor for the futile attempts by the Gravenhorst nuns to protect themselves from raging and plundering soldiers – attempts that led to the building of the cloister in the nearby town of Bevergern and the escape route, called the Nonnenpättken, which led to it (today a footpath).

But the location allows other violent historical associations. The Teutoburg Forest – today a hiking district for tourists – was once the site of the great battle known as the Varusschlacht, which became a symbol of the victory of the ‘barbarian’ Germanic peoples of the Roman legions.
However, when you observe the many bicycle tourists or families with children enjoyably finding their way through the labyrinth at the weekend, it becomes clear that it also has its playful side.

Further information in the catalogue Skulptur Biennale – Münsterland 2001, ISBN 3-932809-22-x

The Willow Net
This 50-metre-long willow construction beside the historical convent is a playful artwork and an ecological, self-greening arboreal walkway. In a reference to fishing and Cistercian hydraulic engineering, it takes the form of a large net. It is intended both as a romantic colonnade and as an action surface for outdoor events.

DA – There – in the middle of woods, fields and waterways
DA, Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst lies at the northern foot of the Teutoburg Forest in the middle of a landscape traversed by the River Aa and rich in woods and meadows. The tourist hiking route known as the Hermannsweg goes past to the south, beyond the A30 motorway, which cuts the convent off from its natural surroundings and original resources.

Here too lies a sandstone quarry – now closed – from which Granvenhorst sandstone, the convent’s building material, was obtained. Gravenhorst sandstone is characterised by a medium hardness and a yellow tone. It was very popular in the Münster region during the Baroque era, and the architect Conrad Schlaun used it for some of his buildings in the city of Münster. The last stone quarry at Gravenhorst was finally closed only a few years ago.

There are further interesting cultural attractions in the immediate vicinity of the DA, Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst. Mention should be made of Surenburg Palace and Rheine, with Kloster Bentlage and the Museum Falkenhof. A particular highlight nearby is the Nasses Dreieck, the so-called Wet Triangle at the meeting of the Mittelland and Dortmund–Ems Canals, and Lake Torfmoor.

And there’s more

The convent’s park-like grounds, with their moats, fruit meadows and historic bridges at the edge of a large wood, is a popular destination for families, hikers and cyclists. The ancient Nonnepättken, the nuns’ old escape route into the nearest village, is today a charming footpath that leads via the Nasses Dreieck, the meeting point of the Mittelland and Dortmund–Ems Canals, with its large lock, to neighbouring Bevergern. In the turbulent times after the Thirty Years’ War the aristocratic nuns used this path to reach their town house in times of danger. This now contains the much frequented Klosterhof restaurant. The charming surroundings of the town house are an invitation to go walking, along the Hermannsweg or the Töddenweg paths, for example. A circular path, an educational forest trail and a geological trail by Lake Torfmoor convey interesting information about the animal life and geological features of the region.

The Dortmund–Ems Canal cycle route is close by. Going past 100 palaces and mansions, it leads directly past the Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst. In the inner courtyard the summer terrace of the cloister restaurant is an idyllic place to relax before continuing on one’s way Visitors to the Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst may like to explore further tourist attractions in the surrounding district:

  • the Surenburg, the largest and perhaps finest water palace in the Tecklenburger Land and site of numerous national and international equestrian and cycling events
  • Knollmann’s Mühle (Hörstel), a technical monument with a portrayal of a water-driven saw
  • Heimathaus (Bevergern), a small museum with an impressive collection of cultural and traditional artefacts and sacred art
  • Lünnemann’s Pättken (Dreierwalde), a 1.5 km educational trail
  • Reinings Mühle (Hörstel-Dreierwalde), a technical monument and demonstration of the use of regenerative energies and hydraulic power
  • Landmaschinenmuseum Riesenbeck (Hörstel-Riesenbeck), a small museum and exhibition barn with a lovingly assembled collection of agricultural tools and machines