Münster, March 9, 2005
As I was coming in to land at Newark, New York, I was thrilled to be able to look upon the Statue of Liberty on Staten Island. It triggered an impulse in me which led me to create the concept of an exchange exhibition, which I have called Hermann for Liberty.
I am familiar with the giant figure of Hermann from school trips and I still remember the impact that it exerted on me from afar, even long after my visits. Hermann is a monument to freedom, and stands for victory against the Romans, for it was he who, as a Cherusker prince and Germanic warrior, put fear into the Romans.
The great lady of liberty stands in New York. One can quite confidently claim that the whole world is familiar with her charm. She is the most commonly sent postcard motif in the world. And she must surely have found her way into millions of family photo albums right across the world (for example: Me and Irv in front of the Statue of Liberty.... )
Viewed from afar, one can discern a certain similarity between Miss Liberty and Hermann; the latter is some twenty meters smaller but all the more strongly fortified. Rather than a burning torch, Hermann holds aloft the sword of the just war.
My project, which would involve temporarily exchanging Liberty for Hermann, is an attempt on my part to achieve the impossible, to enable both figures to partake in a change of both air and meaning.
As a symbol of well-fortified freedom, Hermann fights battles that take place in other places, leaping to the aid of the tiring Statue of Liberty of New York, and willingly taking her place for a few weeks. And while he is holding the fort for her, Liberty takes the opportunity to relax and replenish her energy in the spa town in the Teutoburg Forest.
I interpret this exchange of figures as an example of pathetic art.
The size of the pedestals and destinations of the translocation would appear to make this project quite feasible, following any necessary restructuring measures. The realization of such a large-scale project can only be envisaged within a period of at least fifteen years, and there are many obstacles which would need to be overcome, a number of which would require official assistance. It is for this reason that I have chosen to contact you and ask your opinion of this projected exchange.
The potential of the postcard production and anticipated souvenir industry appears as volatile as it is delightful, both artistically and politically. It is the politically and aesthetically inestimable conditions which make the project so exciting and provide it with its artistic legitimacy.
So as to give you a better idea of the project, I have enclosed a few postcards for your enjoyment.
|Answer from Mark DiBiase|