Square of the European Promise

Platz des europäischen Versprechens

Place de la Promesse Européenne

Piazza della Promessa Europea

CR 895. Year 2004-2015

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Square Of The European Promise Jochen Gerz Cr 895 Web
Square Of The European Promise Jochen Gerz Cr 895 2 Web

My contribution to the Square of the European Promise is the inscription of my name onto the new square and a promise that I give to Europe, which will not be published.

The ironic twist to the Square of the European Promise is the decorative context of the Gerz piece: a golden, mosaic legend on the interior walls of the tower, installed between 1929 and 1931, listing Germany's perceived enemy states. Many of the names are European, but the slightly ludicrous inclusion of Panama and Peru under the P's appears amusing only until you remember the various serious reasons you have accepted the invitation to sign up... . It is no joke, and only an artist in this situation and this place can conspicuously deal with it. His pledge hangs in the air and dares us to consider yet another item in our normally suppressed audit of threats.

Isabel Vasseur 2011

Hier beginnt (ähnlich wie einst 1972 in der Rue Mouffetard) bereits das, was ich „ästhetische Erfahrung“ nennen möchte. Diese Erfahrung aber unterscheidet sich vom bloßen kognitiven Lesen oder scannerartigen Zur-Kenntnis-Nehmen! Wodurch eigentlich? Durch das plötzliche oder allmähliche Begreifen meiner Beteiligung! Ich lese nicht nur die Namen, sondern ich begreife mich dabei als Lesenden. Ich beobachte mich also selbst… Ich beginne über die Bedingungen der Möglichkeiten dieser Erfahrungen und auch über die Grenzen meines Verstehens nachzudenken. Auch über mein Verhältnis zu den anderen, deren Namen ich da gerade lese…. Eine Aussage wie „Ach wie schön ist doch dieser Platz“ wird in den seltensten Fällen Resultat der Betrachtung sein. Stattdessen schon viel eher die Frage: Wer sind diese Menschen?... Was haben sie wohl für die Zukunft und für Europa versprochen? … Und immer wieder die Frage: Was ist mein Versprechen heute?

Peter Friese 2015

What I would like to call an ‘aesthetic experience’ (akin to the Rue Mouffetard work in 1972) begins here. This experience however, differs from a merely cognitive reading or a scanner-like acknowledgement. But in what way? By suddenly or gradually becoming aware of one’ s own involvement! I do not only read the names - while doing so I perceive myself as the one reading. I observe myself. ... I begin to think about the possibilities of this experience and about the limits of my own understanding. Also about my relation to the others, those whose names I am just reading. ... A statement like ‘Oh, what a lovely square’ as a result of this observation will be the rare case. Instead, the result will rather be the question: who are these people?... What have they promised for the future and for Europe? ... And over and over again the question: what is my promise today?

Peter Friese 2015 Translated by e_CR editiors

In the works of Jochen Gerz, which are characterized by the formal and procedural deconstruction of the aesthetic of the monument, the logic that informs their composition is completely overturned: their presence, or their disappearance, incites in the observers an active and precise will to be a critical element in the construction of the collective memory, even by disagreeing or expressing points of view which oppose those presupposed in the creation of the monument.

Pietro Gagliano 2016

Here a name engraved on the square functions on several levels: it does tell visitors that a square can be a memory of living people, of their promises, of belief in their promises; there are only promises one can encounter and yet, that makes potential space for more promises to come. Last but not least, for those who have their names engraved on the square, a name is a reminder of the promise they made: what are they going to do with the promise they gave?

Janez Jansa 2017

Public authorship / Work in public space

Bochum, Germany

14.726 names of participants, engraved on the surface of the square, light installation by Laurent Fachard, LEA, Lyon

Commissioned by the city of Bochum, the Square of the European Promise began in 2004 and was inaugurated in 2015. Gerz invited the residents of Bochum and the citizens of Europe to take part in the creation of the new square. Every participant contributed his or her name. Each name is inscribed on the square and stands for an unpublished, personal promise to Europe.

The point of departure for this work of art was the Memorial Hall in the restored ruin of the spire of the Christ Church in Bochum. A Mosaic of 1931 displays the names of citizens of Bochum who died in World War I as well as a surprising second list of 28 “enemy states of Germany”. Today, all of these nations are Germany’ s neighbours and friends. It includes not only France, England, Italy, Portugal and the former Czechoslovakia, but also the United States of America, Russia, Japan and China. This prophetic list anticipates World War II and the destruction of Europe.

The Square of the European Promise adds to these lists the names of the living. Their promises stand for a shared future for all Europeans. Each person makes a private, unrestricted and secret promise, thus contributing to an invisible manifesto of many voices and cultures – the Europe of today.

Square of the European Promise website

Square of the European Promise Facebook page

Stadt, Bochum.




Europäische Kulturhauptstadt Ruhr.2010, Stadt Bochum, Regional Government North Rhine Westphalia (Düsseldorf), Christuskirche, NRW-Initiative “Stadt macht Platz”, Universität Bochum, Kunstmuseum Bochum, Benevolat Kirchengruppe, Bürgergruppe, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung und weitere Medienpartner /and further media partners, Projektbüro, Annalies Brost, Thomas und Ayla Wessel, Stephan Zowislo


Bochum 2004-2015

Bibliography (selection)

I: World Wide Web 2015, www.europeanpromise.eu.
Frankfurt/New York 2016, pp. 8-9, 16, 21, 136-151, 138-140, 147, 150.

II: Braunschweig 2005. Schäfer 2005. Westernströer 2006. Bücholdt 2006. Ed. 18, 2007. Ed. 19, 2007. Ed. 20, 2007. Red. 21, 2007. Ed. 22, 2007. Ed. 23, 2007. Ed. 24, 2007. Red. 34, 2007. Ed. 35, 2007. Ed. 36, 2007. Ed. 37, 2007. Red. 38, 2007. Aschwer 2007. Braunschweig 2007. Conrad 1, 2007. Conrad 2, 2007. Conrad 3, 2007. Conrad 4, 2007. Conrad 5, 2007. Debus 2007. Dirksen 2007. Hoffmanns 2007. Maas 2007. Schröder 2007. Stöwer 2007. Streletz 2007. Vogt 1, 2007. Vogt 2, 2007. Voigt 2007. Wangenheim 1, 2007. Wangenheim 2, 2007. Wangenheim 3, 2007. Wangenheim 4, 2007. Wangenheim 5, 2007. Weber 2007. Ed. 2,2008. Albach 1, 2008. Albach 2, 2008. Brenne 2008. Buschmann 1, 2008. Buschmann 2, 2008. Buschmann 3, 2008. Buschmann 4, 2008. Buschmann 5, 2008. Buschmann 6, 2008. Buschmann 7, 2008. Conrad 1, 2008. Conrad 2, 2008. Conrad 3, 2008. Conrad 4, 2008. Hanke 2008. Lorscheider 1, 2008. Lorscheider 2, 2008. Lorscheider 3, 2008. Lorscheider 4, 2008. Lorscheider 5, 2008. Mohar 2008. O’Reilly 2008. Pahlke 2008. Stachelhaus 2008. Streletz 2008. Vogt 2008. Wangenheim 1, 2008. Wangenheim 2, 2008. Wangenheim 3, 2008. Weeke 2008. Weiß 2008. Wolf 2008. Wulffen 2008. Ed. 39, 2009. Ed. 40, 2009. Ed. 41, 2009. Ed. 42, 2009. Ed. 43, 2009. Ed. 44, 2009. Ed. 45, 2009. Ed. 46, 2009. Ed. 47, 2009. Ed. 48, 2009. Ed. 49, 2009. Ed. 50, 2009. Ed. 51, 2009. Bosse 1, 2009. Bosse 2, 2009. Bosse 3, 2009. Bosse 4, 2009. Hartmann 1, 2009. Hartmann 2, 2009. Hoffmans 2009. Lanwert 2009. Meincke 2009. Pauler 2009. Schmid 2009. Streletz 1, 2009. Streletz 2, 2009. Ülger 2009. Wangenheim 1, 2009. Wangenheim 2, 2009. Wangenheim 3, 2009. Weiß 2009. Wolf 2009. Buhr 2010. Conrad 2010. Heimann/Hoffman 2010. Keim 2010. Klussmann 2010. Rossmann 2010. Schraa 1, 2010. Schraa 2, 2010. Schröder/Weberink 1, 2010. Schröder/Weberink 2, 2010. Thomala 2010. Vogt 2010. Wangenheim 2010. Stadthaus 2011, Ed. 2, 2014. McDonald 2014, Ruby 2017. Peter 2019

III: Deuter 2006. Schwerfel 2006. Conrad 2007. Deuter 2007. Lettmann 2007. Müller 2007. Albach 2008.

IV: Berlin 2014. Bristol 2015. Essen 2015. Nuremberg 2018

V: Georgi 2011. Scardi 2011, pp.190-193. Wettengl 2011. Friese 2015. Hoeven 2015, pp. 210-250. Langen-Wettengl 2017.

VI: Sneem 2015

Access general bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz