Bonn · At least 300 more sculptures in green and gold are to be sold by mid-May, so that about 1,000 figures of the smiling composer can be seen as part of Ottmar Hörl’s art installation in the Münsterplatz from 17 May.
The “Our Ludwig” campaign is developing more and more into a success story: 750 Beethoven statues by the artist Ottmar Hörl have already been sold. By the middle of May, at least 300 more sculptures in green and gold should have found buyers, so that about 1,000 figures of the smiling composer will be placed in Münsterplatz for the art installation “Ode to Joy” from 17 May.
Originally, the initiators of the campaign – the City Marketing and “Citizens for Beethoven” associations – had expected 500 figures to be sold. Therefore, at a press conference with the artist on Tuesday, Karina Kröber and Maike Reinhardt (City Marketing), as well as Marlies Schmidtmann and Hans Christoph Pakleppa, were more than happy about the keen demand for the statue, not only among people from Bonn. The green Beethoven figures, with 513 sold, are currently clearly the most popular.
Internationally renowned concept artist
“When my sister Tanja came up with this idea four years ago, I would never have believed that something would come of it”, said Kröber, who runs Kröber’s hearing and sight business with her sister at Friedensplatz. Hörl recalled the many conversations that had previously been held with all those involved, above all regarding the question of financing. “I never dreamed that this would be such a success”, said the internationally renowned conceptual artist, who was professor and president of the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg until his retirement.
The special thing about the nearly one-metre-tall Beethoven statue is that it shows the great composer with a smile. Hörl, who intensively analysed the life of Ludwig van Beethoven, born in Bonn in 1770, wanted to portray him with a “Rhenish cheerful nature” and not as a grim-looking composer, as he is otherwise usually portrayed. “But then I became more and more uncertain as to whether he would even be recognised.”
Guarded day and night
It was therefore a surprise for Hörl that “Citizens for Beethoven” was completely enthusiastic about the friendly smiling Beethoven prototype made of plaster. “We Bonners know that Beethoven was actually a cheerful boy from Bonn”, Schmidtmann said and laughed. “You have portrayed the greatest son of our city very well”, praised the deputy chairman of the association to the artist. Ralf Birkner from the Beethoven Jubilee Society also praised the campaign in the run-up to Beethoven's anniversary in 2020. The whole world knows Beethoven’s music, but many people don’t know much about him as a person, and that should change through campaigns such as this.
However, a lot of wood has still to be acquired before the installation is ready. 750 timber blocks with a total length of 3,000 metres and 700 plywood panels form the base for the figures. Rheinhardt thanked the Knauber company for sponsoring the wood for this. The statues will be screwed onto the wooden panels and will be guarded day and night during the two-week installation from 17 May to 2 June, explained Reinhardt. The installation will be accompanied by music by Beethoven every evening, which will be heard live from a piano on the stage in the Münsterplatz.
On 25 May, the “Citizens for Beethoven” are expecting about 90 guests from Belgium to visit Bonn: these are descendants of Ludwig van Beethoven and their relatives, all of whom bear the surname Beethoven. The background to this is that Beethoven’s paternal family originally came from Mechelen.
The statues cost 300 euros each and will become the property of the buyer after the installation. More information is available on www.unser-ludwig.com.
(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen; translation: John Chandler)