June – October 2019
Sculpture Garden Funnix, Leonard Wübbena, Wittmund, Germany
This year the 200th birthday of the German author Theodore Fontane is being celebrated (1819, Neuruppin – 1898, Berlin). For that occasion I have created a sculpture: Fontane, Liberal and Nationalist.
The German writer Theodor Fontane wrote realistic and naturalistic novels. He did not only want to portray people’s everyday life, as in realism, but also and specially to show which underlying forces had influenced his characters. His stories are mostly situated in his birthplace Prussia, the present federal state of Brandenburg. He is known for constantly having been troubled with his conscience by the contrast between on the one hand his interest in democratic reforms as he had seen in England and his sympathy for liberalism, and on the other hand his longing for stability and bourgeois morality. His fluctuating sympathies for liberalism and conservatism testify to this, and are reflected in his novels set in petty bourgeois society. In his most famous work, Effi Briest, he exposed the parochial pettiness of such environments. The book’s main character, Effi, the free-thinking protagonist, perishes due to the rigid narrow-mindedness of the society she lived in, and is said to be a strong autobiographical representation of Fontane himself.
Explaining the work of art
My work of art in honour of the 200-year anniversary of Fontane is an abstract image of the dichotomy between, on the one hand, Fontane’s sympathy for liberalism and freedom of expression and on the other hand, his tendency to conservatism and moral leadership.The form of the sculpture is vaguely reminiscent of a person who is holding a glass in one hand, bringing a toast on freedom and democracy, while the other hand is holding a sword-shaped object that symbolizes oppression and coercion. The colours reflect these symbols: red for a warm, possibly revolutionary gesture, light blue as a neutral, sober consideration, and dark blue for cool and sobering repression.