Art in public spaces: Ordinary people

Christina/ July 29, 2023/ The daily grind, Culture

The ordinary people are back in Brunswieck. It’s last visit in the Lion City dates back to the year 2017. Those deceptively real-looking figures made of concrete are a great asset. Art in public spaces innervates the city centre. For me the characters are fun. Whether it is the „Sofagruppe“ on the Altstadtmarkt, or the „Tafel“ on the Schlossvorplatz. Sometimes those personas look so real that I feel like joining them. The figures emanates sympathy, friendliness and unobtusiveness that I almost want to make friends with them. In a themed guided tour with Thomas Ostwald yesterday we got information about the orginary people. At the same time we leaned some interesting things about the history of the city. The round trip ended at the Magnikirche. Various cafés and pubs asked us over. Using fire and swords Heinrich der Löwe tried to convert people of the east to Christianity.

A fake lion and tyrant
We meet at the fake lion on the Burgplatz. The Brunswieck Lion is the symbol of the town’s landmark. The one on the Burgplatz however, is a double-dealer; the original can be visited at Burg Dankwarderode. It is noteworthy that twelve copies of the lion are dotted around Germany. One replica stands in London, another one in Cambridge. The allegded lion, according to its physiognomy rather a dog’s nose with human ears, looks eastwards. Tour guide Ostwald tells us why.

Binocular man
We turn to the first ordinary person of the artist duo Christel und Laura Lechner. He stands on the Burgplatz in front of the half-timbered houses. What is he looking at? It is not the Braunschweiger Dom. No, it is rather the sky. In front of the „Kleine Burg“ we meet the „man wearing shorts“. A typical male, I think, hands in the pockets, beer belly in front. He is just missing the white tennis socks. In front of the secondary school „Kleine Burg“ we stop in front of two half-timbered houses before we move on to meet „Claudia“. He sits on jutty of the Galerie Jaeschke wearing a blue dress and rubber boots. I am sure that Claudia enjoys a great view on the pedestrian zone from here.

Jürgen Weber takes revanche
Suddenly somebody stands in our way waiting – what for? For his wife to leave the clothes shop or the bakery? It is a guy with a red cap on his head, interlaced arms and a provoking look in his eyes. He stands next to the Ringerbrunnen. By the way Ringerbrunnen. There is a story to it. It is about the history of the bronze skulpture. Upon it erraction in 1975 the indignation of the citizens of Brunswieck was big. The two wrestlers were naked. Not everybody like that idea. Especially parents who wanted to protect their kids from this sight. However, Jürgen Weber, sculptor and „father“ of this piece of art, was not readdy to back down. He came up with something. Upon the next induction both wrestlers wore Judo dresses. Though Weber wrote the name of the critics on its backside.

And that is not all. The sculpture stand on a shield with bearing a lion’s head. That is how Weber takes revance by riding roughshod over the lion.

Woman with fur
In front of the former hotel there are more ordinary people. It is a fancy dressed couple, he wears a suit, she wears a blue costume with fur trimming. To my mind fur is out. But well, they are getting a bit long in the tooth. Maybe this is all about strolling in the pedestrian zone in proper style. Our next objects are the cleaning ladies on the Georg Eckert Straße, the „Tafel“ in front of the castle and the „Kleine Pause“ in front of the Magnikirche.

There is an unscheduled showact waiting for us at the „Cleaning ladies“. At first we do not understand what this is all about. Than we realize that a lady tries to fix a sign to the figures. Ostwald tries to continue with his lecture but is harshly interrupted by the lady: „You have to wait than, I was first!“ We are all a little bit perplex and walk over to the „Tafel“. I guess, the figures sitting at a set table are the most popular photo motif. Once more I stunned by the correspondence to reality. I think I am not the only one. You can see the irritation in most people’s eyes. And everyboday wants to take a picture of the scene.

Back to our showact. The lady finished her works in the meanwhile. It is hard to understand what is the aim of the activity. It seems to be about waste avoidance. Strange enough though she left her own rubbish behind.

The magni quarter is our last destination. We stop at the oldest half-timbered house of Brunswieck which is scaffolded for the time being. We are surprised when Ostwald tells us that the house already existed here for 70 years when Christoph Columbus discovered America n 1492. Still this is not the oldest half-timbered house of Germany, it just belongs tot he eldest one.

Small break on the Magni areaway
Our tour ends at the Magni church square. The „Kleine Pause“ of Lechner’s stands here. On our way Ostwald told us that some people unfortunately damage the concreate figures. One of the them is missing the left forearm. I don’t think that is freedom of art but. I guess it is not a coincidence that a sign saying „Parents are liable for their children’s actions“ is part of the object. Upon turning around I see a friend of mine. It is a good opportunityl to finish this day upon blue with a shandy.

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