The Ruhr Ding: Schlaf (Ruhr Thing: Sleep) is an exhibition project in public space that includes 22 site-specific new productions by 19 artists in the cities of Mülheim an der Ruhr, Essen, Witten, and Gelsenkirchen-Erle.

It is also the conclusion of a trilogy with which Urbane Künste Ruhr, under the artistic direction of Britta Peters, is touring the Ruhr region. After the Ruhr Ding: Territorien (2019) and the Ruhr Ding: Klima (2021) the third Ruhr Ding shifts the gaze from questions about the environment and the surroundings to the human body and its need for sleep, reflecting with the means of art the question of how we want to live.

Caught in eight-hour waking and sleeping patterns, flexible working hours, body clocks and the social pressure to be non-stop available, productive and awake, sleep represents an almost resistant state – a phase of non-production and non-consumption.

Yet even when resting, our bodies can be digitally measured and optimised by numerous inventions designed to help us sleep better. Sleepless nights are juxtaposed with the creative state of being rested, and fantasy worlds alternate with nightmare scenarios turned into reality. The concept of sleep is as multifaceted as the artistic examination of it.

The Ruhr Ding: Schlaf marks the end of a three-part exhibition series presented throughout the region by the Urbane Künste Ruhr under Britta Peters’ artistic direction. It is curated as a polyphonic dialogue in which different artistic positions relate to each other: They complement and contradict each other, some involve their audience. Some projects are loud and impossible to miss, but alongside them quieter voices and more subtle interventions assert themselves. Whether film, sculpture, painting, language, text, music or sound, whether installations, workshops or performances - they all have one thing in common: they were each created for concrete places and contexts in the Ruhr region.

Opening Days

5.5.2023: Opening ceremony in Mülheim an der Ruhr
6.5.2023: Opening ceremony in Witten
7.5.2023: Opening ceremony in Essen.


Wojciech Bąkowski, Maximiliane Baumgartner, Cute Community Radio, God's Entertainment, Michel Gondry's Home Movie Factory, Healing Complex, Nik Nowak, Katarina Jazbec, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Stephanie Lüning, Melanie Manchot, Museum für Fotokopie, Yuri Pattison, Joanna Piotrowska, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Alicja Rogalska, Nora Turato, Viron Erol Vert, The Wig.

In cooperation with

  • Makroscope
  • Museum für Fotokopie Essen
  • Astra Theater
  • Neuer Essener Kunstverein Witten
  • Kulturforum Witten
  • Märkisches Museum Witten
  • Saalbau Witten.