Gelsenkirchen-Erle: Healing Complex

UKR Healing Complex Myconomie 2023 c D Sadrowski 8913
UKR Healing Complex Myconomie 2023 c D Sadrowski 9097
UKR Healing Complex Myconomie 2023 c D Sadrowski 9474

Since 3 June 2022, Urbane Künste Ruhr has been running the Healing Complex (2018—ongoing) project space in Gelsenkirchen, initiated by the artist Irena Haiduk, and based on the model of ancient health resorts that combined art and healing. In her artistic practice, Haiduk calls up imaginings and experiences to bring concrete needs and wishes into focus with the use of texts, objects, performances and scenography.

The starting point of her idea, developed especially for the Ruhr region, is to heat a public bakery and a sauna area with a shared oven. In this way, a new energy-saving community centre with various uses will be created, whose economy is not based on money, but on the exchange of knowledge and labour. Haiduk’s project in the former church and vacant building of St. Bonifatius in Gelsenkirchen-Erle initially began with her designs of ‘inviting’ workspace furniture and an overall concept for light, colour and spatial boundaries. A central oven in the middle and a countertop adaptable to numerous uses lent the space its special atmosphere. In recent months, this set-up has been used as a local drop-in centre and – thanks to integrated microphone holders – a floor-level podium. The space has been used for a wide range of functions, such as public baking events, workshops, lectures, a holiday programme and an international summer school for students. In addition, regular opening hours allowed visitors to see the project room and ideas, stories and concerns could be shared with the team.

In November, the first phase of the project ended with a major event, during which it was possible to have a sauna in the parking lot in front of the building, while in the interior, alongside various project presentations, questions common in public spaces used by different people were discussed during baking sessions.

The second phase, starting in March this year, extends the idea of an alternative economy with a modified experimental phase. Plans include mushroom growing, for example, an activity that requires care and yields a vegetable product. Thus it will become a satellite project for Ruhr Ding: Schlaf in the northern region. By focusing on different forms of communal care and joint management, the Healing Complex (2018-ongoing) also reflects on how to deal with one’s own body and resources inherent to the topic of sleep in the broader sense.

Detailed documentation can be found at


Former church St. Bonifatius
Cranger Straße 338–342
45891 Gelsenkirchen