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Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Track level, Bahnsteigebene, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Achim Kukulies
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, Trichter
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Archim Kukulies
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Joerg Hempel
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Joerg Hempel
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Joerg Hempel

Track X

Enne Haehnle

For the station at Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle wrote poetic texts and then gave them sculptural life. The lines of text leading passengers down into the subway begin at the three entrances, lead down into the station, intersect there and then accompany the passengers to the tracks. A fourth text scrolls across the central skylight. The lines of writing, forged from steel cables that were then covered with a bright color, can each only be read from certain perspectives owing to their 3D qualities. A game between abstraction and legibility thus unfolds, depending on the passengers’ location and angle of vision.

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Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Artistic Concept, Kuenstlerisches Konzept, Enne Haehnle, Scribble, Skizze

Enne Haehnle – Track X

Text by Anja Schürmann
»… all communication of the contents of the mind is language, communication in words being only a particular case of human language…« (Walter Benjamin)*

When is an »m« an »m«? When do the lines from a letter become a character? With an »m« the letter must be 75% complete to be recognized; before that it is an »n.« But this relationship isn’t applicable to all letters, nor to all sentence structures. It also doesn’t apply to Enne Haehnle, because it doesn’t work in printed language, only in written language.
Track X is the name of Haehnle’s work at the Kirchplatz U-Bahn station. X is a replaceable variable, an unknown. The reading of one’s own desire, recognition of it, is triggered by Haehnle’s sculptural text. But success is limited, because her writing describes more than a surface. If one changes their perspective, an »almost space« is formed, an erratic tangle of orange line that isn’t legible and shouldn’t be read. In this restricted position the body can never see, nor understand, everything. Therefore the text is not only found, it is invented: with every act of reading it is further developed and completed by the reader. Reading is not the recognition of individual letters, rather the designation of word contours from patterns: the eye springs in small increments to letter constellations that are characteristic of a word until the line is scanned. But there is no line here, there are also no capital letters, which are always helpful for word recognition. Everything turns, winds, from three entrances going down, meeting at a central light shaft, which offers the largest space for the game in steel and color.
Here – on the inner triangularly tiled wall in the shaft – a single word is recognizable: »sich leere« (to empty), »leert sich fülle« (to be emptied full). Emptiness and fullness, material and space, are traditional sculptural themes, conflicts that are treated with a confident ease and lavish gesture: the neon glowing orange of every ceramic line seems to be effortless, disregarding all the rules of gravity, filling the space as uneconomically as it does irrationally. A wealth of material that has no relationship to what is written and reveals semantic voids is deliberately created through numerous turns. That it actually appears to drain downwards, the »full,« is also visually emptied and through the arches and turns, associations with writing exercises or automatic scribbles are awakened.
With a loose reference to the cardinal points of the respective entrances, Haehnle has conceived of four texts in a deliberately widely spaced handwritten appearance. Together with Leipzig blacksmith Andreas Althammer, she translated sections – formed in aluminum – cast in orange-colored steel that hovers over the rectangular matte ceramic tiles.
Enne Haehnle has also dealt with the borders of the signified and the un-signified in other works. She created handwritten lines and words in clay. Clay, which was not fired and could be destroyed by visitors or washed away by rain. In her text works she highlights the relationship of the objectivity of the texts with the subject of the reader: when the two encounter each other the text can materialize, but it can also disappear. Any form of recognition, every marking, requires one to step out of their comfort zone of similitude, invisibility or concealment. The English term »to mark« also covers a range of meanings that are substantially more sophisticated and nuanced than the technical connotations of the German word »markieren.« In English “mark” can also be translated into track, spot, scratch, scar, injure, time, or blemish. Haehnle places these clues as orange lines that might be compressed into works, or perhaps even sentences. Aligned as ornamental for and against language, her word images turn the reader into a viewer, who can once again turn into a reader.


* Walter Benjamin, »On Language as such and on the Language of Man,« in: Selected Writings Volume I 1913-1926, edited by Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings, Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press, 1996, p. 62.

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Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Achim Kukulies

Process and Construction

The basic material for “Track X” is an extruded strand of full profile round steel with a diameter of about two centimeters. During the forging process the strand was heated in fire, formed and bent while in a malleable state, then galvanized, swept and covered with a bright orange-red powder pigment. The three-dimensional elements of written script were mounted on the shell of the wall and ceiling with stainless steel spacer mounts. The wall surfaces of the concourse were covered with a white ceramic façade panels, whereby the wall joints continue precisely in the line of the ceiling joints of the white metal panels. The sensory appeal and physical presence of the bent and colored steel forms a counterpart to the cool, clear white geometry of the architecture. Architectural incisions into the space – such as the light funnel – enable a view inwards and outwards and thus of other spaces and text sequences.

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Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stationen, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Schweissarbeiten, Photo Kay Zimmermann
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stationen, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Materialverarbeitung, Photo Kay Zimmermann
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stationen, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Roehren, Photo Kay Zimmermann
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stationen, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Installation der Roehren, Photo Joerg Hempel

Spatial Concept

The Kirchplatz subway station can be accessed at ground level from the north where three entrances connect it to the urban fabric. One of these entrances lies east Friedrichstrasse, the other west of it, both on the north side of Fürstenwall. A further set of stairs to the south opens into the square in front of the church, offering a shortcut to the neighborhoods south of the station. The south access is characterized by an inclined funnel-shaped void, which to one side of the stair at Kirchplatz cuts down to the ceiling of the space at track level, so that the tracks are visible from the stairs and the concourse. Sightlines and the light that enters through this funnel provide a clear linkage of the track zone and the world above the surface. Given the constrained space available owing to the proximity to the underground garage located below Kirchplatz, the flights of stairs are located one behind the other.

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Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Spatial Concept, Raeumliches Konzept, Enne Haehnle, Schwarzplan
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Spatial Concept, Raeumliches Konzept, Enne Haehnle, modell
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Longitudinal section, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Concourse level, Verteilerebene, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Track level, Bahnsteigebene, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Kirchplatz, Enne Haehnle, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Achim Kukulies