Introducing Ottmar Hörl
He’s created one of Frankfurt’s most photographed sculptures and, this summer, is launching an unprecedented tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven at Wertheim Village. We meet the innovator behind the installation…
“Art is one of the last great adventures,” says Ottmar Hörl, the man responsible for an army of metre-high Beethoven miniatures taking over Wertheim Village, near Frankfurt.
It’s a pleasure to work with people who want to make a difference in a city
Describing his career as an artist as both “unfathomable and inevitable”, it’s clear that Hörl has found his calling. The sculptor truly believes that art can “change the world”. So it’s no surprise that he’d be drawn to commemorating one of the world’s most transformative creators: Beethoven.
This summer, the artist’s colourful statues will form part of Wertheim Village’s season-wide celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven, marking 250 years since the composer’s birth.
To bring a sympathetically smiling Beethoven into the world… the idea is new and unique. It’s never been done before
“It’s a pleasure to work with people who want to make a difference in a city,” says Hörl of the new project. “Beethoven composed music that consciously broke the accepted rules and structures of music at that time. His work is one of the shining examples of the power and energy that can emanate from uncompromising, radical, innovative, artistic concepts.
“To bring a sympathetically smiling Beethoven into the world… the idea is new and unique. It’s never been done before,” the artist adds.
Before Beethoven, Hörl was perhaps best-known for creating the ‘Euro Sculpture’, which was commissioned to celebrate the launch of the Euro and today sits outside the Eurotower in Frankfurt’s financial centre.
“I tried to design this emblem in such a way that everyone, no matter their education, would recognise it,” he explains. “I did allow myself one single artistic freedom though: the stars (which represent the states in the European monetary union) are arranged loosely around the Euro symbol, rather than following the obligatory principle of order. This is because the participating states are, so to speak, individual.”
Elsewhere, Hörl has several high-profile projects underway this year, including a Lego work at the Museum of Modern Art in Ingolstadt, sculptures in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich, and an installation in the Historical Museum Hanau Schloss Philippsruhe.
A glance at his career shows that ‘accessibility’ is key for the sculptor. His portfolio features several notable faces, including Albert Einstein and replicas of the mysterious ‘Nuremberg Madonna’ sculpture, as well as horse heads, wolves and giant rabbits. Yet no matter the subject matter, Hörl’s fondness for bold, bright colours and his open-air exhibitions make them perfect Instagram fodder.
“I don‘t see culture as a hierarchical concept,” he explains. “Today, everyone can listen to Beethoven and everyone can afford a piece of art.”