ICH KÖNNTE EUCH VERSCHIEDENES ERZÄHLEN, WAS NICHT IN EUREN LESEBÜCHERN STEHT GESCHICHTEN, WELCHE IM GESCHICHTSBUCH FEHLEN, SIND IMMER DIE, UM DIE SICH ALLES DREHT. (I COULD TELL YOU MANY THINGS THAT CANNOT BE FOUND IN YOUR BOOKS. THE STORIES MISSING FROM THE HISTORY BOOKS ARE ALWAYS THE ONES EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND.)
These lines, taken from Erich Kästner’s poem Ein alter Mann geht vorüber (An Old Man Walks By), forms the inspiration for Karl-Heinz Ströhle’s work for the campus plaza, as well as being an essential element. During the Nazi era, Kästner gained firsthand experience of ideologically regulated knowledge transfer and cultural mediation.
Ströhle lined the circular opening in the concrete roof with this quote. The letters, made of bent stainless steel, can be seen as both text and sculpture. Depending on the weather and the season, they shimmer, cast shadows on their surroundings or merge with the sky on overcast winter days. Because they are made of spring steel, they gently move in the wind. The work unites sculptural and thematic aspects in a playful way. It compellingly and poetically creates awareness of school in general as being far more than just a place for knowledge acquisition but also a school of life. As such, it has to engage with current, controversial topics and factual contexts that go beyond the curriculum.
Karl-Heinz Ströhle had been working with spring steel for many years and planned the Kästner quote as a 120m, individually designed and handcrafted text sculpture. After the artist’s sudden death in the summer of 2016, his project partners, Cornelius Burkert and Eva Eisenbacher, realised the work according to his plans.