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Truly romantic: the world-famous ruins
Heidelberg Palace
Schloss Heidelberg, Ausstellung Görtz

exhibition from March 19 to October 25, 2020The Allegorical View

“The Allegorical View,” an exhibition of sculptures by the artist Jürgen Goertz, will be held at the gardens of Heidelberg Palace from March 19 to October 25, 2020. The gardens are open to the public and offer an impressive backdrop for these works of art.

The artist

Jürgen Goertz was born near Poznań, Poland, in 1939 and grew up in the Wendland. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe from 1963 to 1966, and has lived and worked in southwestern Germany ever since. In 2004, he was awarded the title of honorary professor by the state of Baden-Württemberg for his cultural contributions. It is hard to imagine the region today without his sculptures adorning public spaces. Now, one year after his 80th birthday, a large exhibition honoring his work will be held at the Hortus Palatinus.

Schloss Heidelberg, Ausstellung Görtz

Goertz himself chose the pieces to be exhibited.

The exhibition

The exhibition at the palace gardens will display Goertz’s works from 1974 to the present. The artist himself chose the pieces to be exhibited as well as their locations on the grounds. The monumental hybrid creatures are reminiscent of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. Goertz, who has made the region his home, has always been fascinated by Heidelberg Palace and the history of the Electoral Palatinate. For example, his sculpture Guardian Angel (21) represents the palace’s guardian angel.

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The sculptures by the artist Jürgen Goertz.


Musengaul

Whereas Pegasus, another mythical horse, can fly, Goertz’s Musengaul is a gigantic armored beast with a massive trunk. The three-legged creature made of metal and wood was built as a “Trojan horse” for the Baden State Theatre in Karlsruhe. It has neither a saddle nor a rider; it is a free being that can “move however it wishes from its head to its tail.” A thoroughly democratic entity! The proudly neighing horse's gaze is towards the palace ruins.

 

YEAR: 1974 / 81
SIZE: Height: 650 cm, width: 500 cm, depth: 170 cm
MATERIALS: Oak, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, bronze, plastic, partially gold-plated

Cowriosity

A hybrid creature – half cow, half machine – stands on a giant milk canister. At first glance, it looks like a rocket ready for take-off. The cow’s tail ends in a green garden hose, its udder is swollen, and it is perched atop a pedestal that is much too small. Its heavy, thick skull and bony rump are perfectly crafted. The body is comprised of a robotic back with mechanical joints. The artist himself refers to it as a “high-performance cow.” Productivity as a raison d’être!

 

YEAR: 1989 / 2020
SIZE: Height: 640 cm, diameter: 440 cm
MATERIALS: Painted aluminum, partially gold-plated, concrete, plastic

Chariot

We see a pair of artists riding atop a hyper-modern chariot, which is equipped with portholes. Gazing out from his seat and with a flight of stairs balanced on his head, Jürgen Goertz is in the charioteer’s position. His wife, a painter, has a palette over her left eye. A young child’s head is growing out of her shoulder. Three restless horse heads are pulling on the drawbar, but without any guidance. There is also no one behind the steering wheel of this "silver arrow." An unmanned ship or a Baroque chariot? And where is it headed?

 

YEAR: 1980
SIZE: Height: 400 cm, width: 730 cm, depth: 350 cm
MATERIALS: Painted aluminum, partially gold-plated, bronze, stainless steel, plastic, lights

Amme Amadeus (Amadeus’ Wet Nurse)

The body of a mysterious woman is shrouded in soft curves; her face is young and beautiful. She smiles and points down with her fingers splayed. Her fiery eyes gaze into the distance. She is fused together with a monstrous foot, which she appears to sit upon. Her right leg is bent and pushes outward to the front. A small, feeble creature snuggles against her breast, which is covered in nipples. The work pays homage to W. A. Mozart, whose first child died in the arms of his wet nurse.

 

YEAR: 1993 / 94
SIZE: Height: 329 cm, width: 260 cm, depth: 200 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, plastic

Urne (Urn)

Much like the genie escaping from a bottle, this sculpture depicts a female figure rising out of an urn. Her posture is coquettish and triumphant; gearwheels and vises restrain her swelling body. She is pressing a comical mask with an elongated nose against the back of her head. Her own nose resembles a metal bridge connecting her lips to her forehead. Undulating shapes, distorted proportions and contrasts violate our own sense of aesthetics. Everything becomes dizzyingly chaotic: A mechanical skull lies atop her bare foot.

 

YEAR: 1994
SIZE: Height: 348 cm, diameter: 200 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, terrazzo, plastic

Viola-Melancholia

In a dialog with the contours of the palace ruins, we are confronted at the edge of the path with a sculpture that evokes a melancholy, poetic mood. The rounded edges of the violin’s body are reflected in the palace’s wide, curved arcades; the instrument is transformed into a vibrant, sonorous female figure. Her arm appears to point towards the empty tower windows. She gracefully lowers her gaze; the instrument’s strings become her tendons. A child’s hand on the sound board creates tension. The valve of a hydrant sits atop her head like a crown.

 

YEAR: 1991 / 2020
SIZE: Height: 380 cm, width: 120 cm, depth: 106 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, artificial stone, plastic

Dionysos (Dionysus)

Dionysus, the god of wine, madness, and ecstasy appears to be in the midst of a frenzy with sensuous lips, swollen and raw. His face, contorted in pain, appears to be decomposing: his right eye is drooping, his left bulges in fear. His skin is chapped and spent, his neck seems to be torn off of his body. His detached head is crowned with a still life of grapes and greenery. Is the god himself turning into a grapevine? Dionysus is becoming one with nature and “wilting”!

 

YEAR: 1984
SIZE: Height: 247 cm, diameter: 120 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, stainless steel, sandstone, iron, plastic

Kopf der Europa (Europa’s Head)

Europa is standing on her head! The famed Phoenician princess looks on with a mixture of confusion and consternation. She is acrobatically balanced atop a golden ball, a symbol of wisdom and perfection. At the same time, she is upside down Is the artist referring to the trials and tribulations of our time? Her hair is piled atop her head and adorned with flowers made of stamped gears. The motif of the geared wreath is also mirrored in her pupils – her eyes open wide in fear – and is reminiscent of the stars on the European flag.

 

YEAR: 1983 / 2020
SIZE: Height: 197 cm, width: 125 cm, depth: 125 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, concrete, plastic

Metamorphose (Metamorphosis)

Some creatures only exist in our imaginations. Once again, we are confronted by a wild hybrid, this time of a man and a horse. The mouth of a horned horse hungrily swallows a body that seems to be its own. Its head is growing out of a female figure with nude breasts and a bent arm, which, in turn, disappears into a hole framed by a horseshoe. Is the artist showing us a metamorphosis of pain and passion, give and take? The piece was created for the Toxicology Department at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen.

 

YEAR: 1994
SIZE: Height: 224 cm, width: 64 cm, depth: 64 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, plastic

Frühstück im Freien (Breakfast Alfresco)

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Eggs are symbols of life, and in this sculpture, one is being laid. The chicken is squatting in a hard shell; mechanical parts forcing her to produce. Distressed, she pushes an egg out of her body. In the center of the piece, however, is a large stainless steel oval that reflects the sculpture’s surroundings, most importantly the viewer. They themselves become part of the work of art, which itself turns into a high-end product: a festive centerpiece and a laying battery in one! A thoroughly modern table setting.

 

YEAR: 1990
SIZE: Height: 215 cm, diameter: 120 cm
MATERIALS: Aluminum, bronze, plastic

Allegorie der Luft (The Allegory of Air)

Like a figurehead, the aerodynamic bronze bust towers over the park. It stretches its neck and opens its mouth wide, as if about to take a deep breath. Its classically antique nose seems to be an extension of its helmet-like head. A cast gearwheel on its forehead is reminiscent of a crown. The figure’s inner ear is shaped like a spiral – a symbol of eternity and femininity. Is it a sylph, a spirit of the air? It is said that these beings turn matter into spirits, but that they themselves have no souls.

 

YEAR: 1990 / 2020
SIZE: Height: 288 cm, width: 80 cm, depth: 80 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, plastic

Resonanz (Resonance)

Resonance is created when one body oscillates proportionally to another. Two round shapes are positioned to create a perfect S-curve. They serve as a pedestal for a majestic woman’s head, upon which something astonishing is happening. A small creature perched there is trying to set the large female form in motion, and is whispering impish fantasies to her. With wide open eyes, it crouches on her head like a brainchild. It clutches her neck with its feet, while at the same time pulling large silver pearls from her ear.

 

YEAR: 1991 / 2020
SIZE: Height: 270 cm, width: 100 cm, depth: 90 cm
MATERIALS: Aluminum, bronze, plastic

Muse

Every artist needs a muse, and Jürgen Goertz is no exception! But this muse seems a bit stressed. She was created for the Baden State Theatre in Karlsruhe. Her thought are swirling around with a “theater of vanities,” masquerades and intrigues; a candelabra is drilled into her forehead. Looking pained, she shuts her eyes tight. She is burdened by the politics of culture, symbolized by a heavy lute. The strings of the instrument pierce her beautiful head like pointed arrows.

 

YEAR: 1990
SIZE: Height: 362 cm, width: 215 cm, depth: 190 cm
MATERIALS: Painted aluminum

Onyx

In the Middle Ages, people believed in yellow elephants and furry lizards. Mythical creatures still exist in our imaginations to this day. A blue figure with human extremities, part camel, part tortoise, looks at us languishingly with large, yellow eyes. Did it collapse under its heavy load? Was its shell split in two? It is lying on its hooves and an oversized fingernail. With its last bit of strength, it is looking up, trying to protect the small creature on the round platform that is strapped to a shell.

 

YEAR: 1981
SIZE: Height: 90 cm, width: 140 cm, depth: 100 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, plastic

Kleiner Glücksengel (Small Angel of Fortune)

If there were no pain or darkness, we would not need angels! Pigs’ feet are still a symbol of good luck in Italy. The figure on the tall pedestal is that of a small Bacchus, a god of love with shriveled wings. The mask on the back of its head and its finger-foot make this figure a very strange angel indeed. The artist drew inspiration for this work from Medieval bestiaries. It refers to the ambivalence of our existence; to passion and suffering, virtue and sin.

 

YEAR: 1995 / 2020
SIZE: Height: 198 cm, width: 60 cm, depth: 60 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, concrete

Hommage a Picasso (An Homage to Picasso)

Pablo Picasso has always been one of Jürgen Goertz’s idols. This work was inspired by Picasso’s “Woman in a Red Armchair”. A cubistic woman’s head dominates the scene. The artist wields his brush wildly, like a torero. Powerfully, he thrusts his arm between his lover’s breasts, painting the air. His blond-haired playmate holds his palette with her fingertips and kisses him on the forehead. However, the artist is being grabbed from behind, held down by a monstrous paw.

 

YEAR: 1989
SIZE: Height: 262 cm, width: 146 cm, depth: 99 cm
MATERIALS: Painted aluminum, plastic

Gnom Gertrud (Erstfassung) (Gertrude the Gnome (First Version))

The Dwarfs’ Gallery at Weikersheim Palace inspired the artist to create a very special portrait. He shows us his mother, proud and unapproachable, her face turned away: she has a sweater tied around her shoulders and is casually kicking off her son’s shoe. Her left hand is spread wide and much too small for her body: it is actually a cast of the hand of her granddaughter! Underneath we see a portrait of the father. All of the generations are represented. However, the ball, a symbol of life, lies neglected on the ground.

 

YEAR: 1986 (first version)
SIZE: Height: 207 cm, width: 72 cm, depth: 81 cm
MATERIALS: Patinated bronze, plastic (eyes)

Porträt Eschbach (Eschbach’s Portrait)

The German word Mäzen, patron, comes from Maecenas, a great patron of the arts in ancient Rome who provided support to the Augustan poets. There are still important patrons of the arts today, such as Frank Eschbach, who made this exhibition possible. He runs a trucking company and is a truly extraordinary individual. His gaze is self-assured and alert. His neck is adorned with mechanical components and symbols of good luck. The colored, flashing lights of the traffic behind him represent the dynamic pulse of his industry.

 

YEAR: 2019
SIZE: Height: 188 cm, diameter: 80 cm
MATERIALS: Bronze, glass

Gnom Gertrud (Gertrude the Gnome)

In the walls of the palace ruins we see a colorful version of the portrait of the artist’s mother (17). It was created one year later. What appears heavy in bronze is light-hearted and playful here. The flowers in her hair tell the story of the happy days of childhood. Christmas cookies are spread across her summer dress in the shape of hearts, moons and stars. She presses her much-too-small child’s hand onto a rolled-out disc of dough. The ball, now gold, has rolled a bit further away.

 

YEAR: 1987
SIZE: Height: 207 cm, width: 72 cm, depth: 81 cm
MATERIALS: Painted aluminum, plastic

Im Morgenmantel (In a Dressing Gown)

The golden Book of Life in her pocket, her lips full and sensual, her breasts pert: we are getting an intimate glimpse of Flora, goddess of flowering plants, in her dressing gown. The collar and lapels open up like a flower blooming in the morning dew. She stretches to make herself even taller. Behind her, we see a measuring stick with a red ball: the measure of perfection? More confusing are her black foot and her gaze, her eyes nearly as blue as the glove touching her midsection – the hand of a stranger?

 

YEAR: 1986
SIZE: Height: 242 cm, width: 130 cm, depth: 125 cm
MATERIALS: Painted aluminum, partially gold-plated, plastic

Guardian Angel

The palace’s guardian angel greets us with a boxing glove and a stern gaze. He is balanced atop a ball. The map of the palace appears like a circuit board in the center of his body. On the rear of the sculpture, we see the countenance of Ottheinrich, builder of the wing that bears his name. He is surrounded by a shining shield that reflects the sky and the palace. The artist immortalized himself in the form of a medallion. We can see it on the top of the silver ball, but only in the reflection!

 

YEAR: 2018 – 2020
SIZE: Height: 410 cm, diameter: 300 cm
MATERIALS: Aluminum, nickel silver, stainless steel, bronze, partially gold-plated, glass, concrete, lights

1+ Dame (1+ Lady)

Ads for ZDF, one of the main German television broadcasters, often feature celebrities covering one eye. The 1+ Dame, or 1+ Lady, covers her left eye, but her face, with its pained expression, is covered in a dozen additional eyeballs. Colored antennas pierce her head as she screams, a parabolic mirror serves as a bizarre barrette. She is missing a tooth, her hand appears to be torn off, and her nose is shredded. Even her teapot is destroyed. 1+ was a German broadcaster in the 1990s that promoted cultural programming. The figure demonstrates how the artist experienced the television channel: as a sort of visual sensory overload.

 

YEAR: 1986
SIZE: Height: 245 cm, width: 83 cm, depth: 85 cm
MATERIALS: Painted aluminum, glass

Diva Concrete

This work is concrete in more ways than one: it references the formal reduction of “Concrete Art,” while at the same time being made of actual concrete. Viewed from the front, we see the threatening face of a sentinel. On the protected inner side of the sculpture, we discover medallions bearing the face of the artist and his wife, along with the words “my home, my heart, my castle” written in the artist’s hand. Above it all is a woman’s head that embodies the ideal of beauty. She is wearing silver ram’s horns – a symbol of artistic creativity.

 

YEAR: 2019 / 2020
SIZE: Height: 373 cm, diameter: 300 cm
MATERIALS: Concrete, aluminum, iron