Doner sculptures within the Rococo palace: sculptor Metzel in Weimar | EUROtoday

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Kein zweiter Bildhauer in Deutschland vermag wie Olaf Metzel, hiesige historische Umbrüche, gesellschaftliche Schieflagen und Ungerechtigkeiten derart scharf zu benennen und in formal starke Werke zu gießen. Metzels Chuzpe, stets das Gegenteil des Erwartbaren und des Mainstream zu formulieren und in ein Alphabet aller nur denkbaren Materialien von A wie Aluminium bis Z wie Zeitung umzusetzen, gern auch noch als Finish mit seinem Lieblingsinstrument, der Flex, traktiert, ehrt nun die Klassik Stiftung Weimar mit deren Präsidentin Ulrike Lorenz mit der grandiosen Überblicksschau „Deutschstunde“ im Weimarer Schloss Belvedere.

Lesen bildet: Olaf Metzels „Deutschstunde“ von 2024 aus Aluminium, Edelstahl und Digitaldruck diverser Medien
Reading educates: Olaf Metzel's “German lesson” from 2024 made of aluminum, stainless steel and digital printing of various mediaLeonie Felle/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

However, you should definitely plan a visit to the Liszt House beforehand, as it offers an introduction to Metzel's most famous major projects in four rooms, but at the same time an introduction to his working methods using preliminary drawings, sketches and elaborate design models, with ravishingly fine studies and preliminary drawings for example for his “Journey to Jerusalem”, a flamboyant column made of colored Plexiglas panels that visually supports the Munich Pinakothek der Moderne and at the same time makes it dance weightlessly through the transparent slats.

Metzel's Babel Tower stood for years at Berlin's Oberbaum Bridge

The model of the warning Tower of Babel “13.4.1981” made of red and white striped police barriers also stands in the Liszt House. It is certainly one of the most controversial works of art in Germany over the past forty years, in which Metzel immortalized the street fights that followed a demonstrator killed by police and the protests against the hated Interior Senator Heinrich Lummer. For a long time, the meter-high installation stood rather hidden in front of Universal Music's Bauhaus warehouse on Berlin's Oberbaum Bridge.

Even as a model that is a good meter high, it still displays an unbridled power, as if all the aggression it has received is still stored in it. When the tabloid press headlined the exhibition of Metzel's master class at the Munich Academy of Arts “From Punk to Porno”, he, who had been a professor of sculpture there since 1990 and its rector until 1999, could be sure that he had done everything right – for him, provocation was often a means of stimulating free thought.

When the Federal President brought 60 kilograms of kebab to Turkey: Olaf Metzel’s “Kebap Monument” from 2007
When the Federal President introduced 60 kilograms of kebab to Turkey: Olaf Metzel’s “Kebap Monument” from 2007Leonie Felle/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

From the composer's home, the stroll continues three kilometers alongside the avenue to the sunny yellow, late baroque Belvedere Palace, with its gable and Moorish domes over the aspect wings, a part of the “Classical Weimar” world cultural heritage web site, wherein all kinds of personalities and kinds have settled since building started in 1724 by Ernst August of Saxony-Weimar, from Anna Amalia to Maria Pavlovna. In the lobby, you’re greeted by Metzel's aluminum sculpture “Berlin Childhood” on a uncooked concrete base, a three-dimensional manifestation of Metzel's guide of the identical title within the so-called Kreuzkölln, the graceful transition from Kreuzberg to the much more desolate Neukölln.

Checkered tile patterns are embossed into the blown-up sculpture, which seems to be just like the heat-baked stays of a demolished home. These, in flip, are cleverly mirrored within the blue and white Delft tile photos on the fort partitions, a primary indication of how sensitively the artist reacts to the overall temper in addition to the smallest particulars of the very totally different rooms.

Also a “German lesson”, with formal games and neologisms like those of Basquiat: Olaf Metzel’s “Heimatkunde” from 2024 meanders through Belvedere Palace
Also a “German lesson”, with formal video games and neologisms like these of Basquiat: Olaf Metzel’s “Heimatkunde” from 2024 meanders via Belvedere PalaceLeonie Felle/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

This continues after strolling down the stately staircase on the primary ground: “Milieu Questions” suits into the silver-framed state room with its uncommon chinoiseries like a mangy pony in a Lipizzaner stud farm. Twelve free-standing urinals standing aspect by aspect occupy the central axis like our bodies within the room and are harking back to Duchamp's “Pissoir” and, with their gestural-expressive drippings in black, of the abstraction of the post-war interval, not with out their curved shapes additionally creating a proper analogy to 2 marble wall niches which might be additionally recessed.

In the Red Salon, the noble burgundy-colored wall protecting contrasts strongly with the sculpture “Prefabricated Building,” a seismically shaking “ceiling” printed with these not-at-all-noble modular buildings on an easel-like scaffolding that appears as if the future-drunk blueprint for the architectural shell of a brand new society had hit the bottom laborious, inflicting new buildings to break down.

By Siegfried Lenz and Hannah Arendt

In the corridor of the eponymous “German lesson,” the attention is drawn simply as a lot to the shimmering jumble of letters manufactured from forged aluminum as it’s to the ceiling, the place a painted sky manufactured from cloud marble opens up. The vary of associations of Metzel's sculpture is, as at all times, various: the 2 vivid crimson punctuation marks printed on one of many aspect partitions might be a daring comma rising out of a chubby dot, or the emblem of a widely known cell phone firm. This form of Babylonian confusion of signifiers is strictly to the style of the artist, who’s already piling up the metallic characters just like the rubble of 9/11.

After the outrageous events in Berlin in April 1981, Olaf Metzel sawed off the arm and head of his futuristically moving figure: “Red Concrete”, 1981
After the outrageous occasions in Berlin in April 1981, Olaf Metzel sawed off the arm and head of his futuristically transferring determine: “Red Concrete”, 1981Leonie Felle/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

In the fifth room, one other forged aluminum object catches the attention. It stands in a windowed and stuccoed wall area of interest and always modifications its form and, above all, its floor in an impressionistic means as a result of gentle falling on it. The sculpture “Oberkante Unterlippe”, the Berlin expression for “about to explode”, is just not manufactured from characters, however seems to be fully bodily, and even appears to have a head, eyes and a form of mouth. The porous and closely structured floor once more takes up the grain of the stucco pilasters in crimson and ochre.

The statuette, which extends out into the room in all instructions, is a combination of primitive African masks and a delicate reprise of Umberto Boccioni's futuristic sculpture “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space”, identified from the Italian twenty-cent coin, and thus combines archetypes with the long run. Fragments of Hannah Arendt's textual content “We Refugees” may be deciphered, which begins with the phrases “We do not like to be called refugees. We call ourselves newcomers or immigrants” to be able to vehemently demand human rights for them.

The artist's monumental sense for positioning his sculptures in house is obvious within the quite a few faculty desks in “ichhasseschule”, which solely appear to criss-cross the corridors and rooms. As with “Oberkante Unterlippe”, historical graffiti symbols, which may be cave work, are as soon as once more combined with kind of intelligent schoolboy sayings. The background to the sculpture is an motion by the artist in 2010 wherein he gave Munich highschool college students free rein to smear tables and partitions, offering them solely with paint, meals and alcohol.

The result’s spectacular: compositions not less than pretty much as good as Basquiat's, daring when it comes to coloration and language. “Your mother has more threes than BMWs” is written subsequent to “Will you share your kebab with me?” and different jokes. To the artist's delight, the outcomes had been very comparable when the varsity guerrilla motion was repeated with non-grammar faculty college students from much less educated backgrounds within the Ruhr area. Only the kebab performed a bigger position right here, which is why the transition to the biggest corridor within the palace is playful.

Sad Turk: Olaf Metzel’s velvet black patinated “Turkish Delight” from 2006
Sad Turk: Olaf Metzel’s velvet black patinated “Turkish Delight” from 2006Leonie Felle/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

There, beneath the grim-looking Jupiter together with his father Chronos and the remainder of the divine baggage within the ceiling fresco, stands a spiral building manufactured from coloured Plexiglas and metallic, surrounded by ten black bistro tables with plastic covers that shine as greasy as petroleum, which stands within the custom of Tatlin's constructivist tower monument for Russia's Third International. However, whereas the Tatlin Tower is a never-realized construction manufactured from metal and glass as an emblem of a brand new social order, the preliminary spark for the artist was the embarrassment of the German Federal President when he introduced kebabs as a present on a state go to to Turkey, which is why the atmosphere is satirically known as the “Kebab Monument” with its dripping grease.

Mirror monument of the Berlin Republic: “Upper edge of the lower lip”, 2024, cast aluminum
Mirror monument of the Berlin Republic: “Upper edge of the lower lip”, 2024, forged aluminumLeonie Felle/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

Carrying kebabs to Turkey

Metzel has maybe created essentially the most touching spatial Gesamtkunstwerk within the Green Salon. He has positioned his bronze determine “Turkish Delight”, which has since been forged in many various variations, barely off-axis. It is a unadorned Turkish girl sporting solely a headband, standing misplaced along with her eyes staring into infinity and her shoulders slumped. The forged made for the Belvedere has a velvety black sheen. He spent weeks modelling the marginally smaller than life-size determine on an actual nude, which, after strenuous posing as a mannequin, ultimately lacked the energy for additional physique rigidity and started to arch its again.

The sculptor captured her at precisely this second. The indisputable fact that the determine, in its fragility and ironic title as a well-liked Ottoman “sweet”, is just not misunderstood, particularly in Turkey, is proven by the truth that the primary two variations went to Istanbul and right this moment, in all its exhaustion and frailty, it seems to be out over the Bosporus. Just because the darkish Arendtian newcomer in Weimar now seems to be out of the fort window into what Metzel sees as an unsightly future.

Olaf Metzel. German lesson. Liszt House and Belvedere Palace, Weimar; till November 1st. Catalogue to comply with.