Metal sculpture – Salzburg Provincial Police Headquarters

In 1986 artist Ilse Sprohar created a sculpture for the forecourt of the Salzburg Provincial Police Department that was made from brightly coloured metal plates and rods arranged on a concrete base. Because of the predominance of the colours red, blue, yellow and black, it came to be known locally as Mikado, inspired by the pickup sticks game.

The premise of the game – if you touch something, you lose – can be interpreted as a metaphor for the inertness of public authorities and police. But on the other hand, the sticks were not arranged in well-ordered, stationary rows. In fact, one of the sticks appears to pierce the massive metal plate facing the ground entrance, which can be seen as a symbol of dynamism and creative energy.

Overall, the piece has an archaic feel to it and creates a stark contrast to the strictly structured architecture of the building.

After enduring 30 years out in the open, the paint was looking sun-bleached and was partly peeling off. In 2022 the sculpture gained a new lease on life with shiny, new paintwork and is now as vibrant as it used to be.