Initially, Karl Heinz wanted to organise wandering exhibitions, as he did with his first two art projects “Dance of the Bears” and “Passion”. Due to the complexity of the project (it involved about 2.500 man-hours from the initial idea to the final installation), the first installation should have been a venue with high visibility, and he chose a prominent shopping centre in Lisbon as a starting point.
“Then we spoke with the municipality of Lagoa, who had an alternative solution which was to purchase and exhibit the sculpture permanently on this specific roundabout. We did not need to go to our audience, our audience would come to us. An ideal scenario and a genius idea for which I am very thankful to the major Luis Encarnação and his team.”
Karl Heinz, who is also the owner of the wine and art estate Quinta dos Vales, told The Portugal News “I believe this position is more of an ideal solution than my original idea. We have achieved our joint goal of having an extraordinary sculpture from the best artists we have in the Algarve, in the optimal location, where internationals and locals come together.”
Conceptually “It was a touring exhibition of 15 globes inspired by the five continents focusing on three aspects, its people, nature and characteristics. This project is a depiction of the world, a world which we all share and focuses on the union and diversity of the planet. The painted globes aim to transport us to the most hidden places of this planet, awakening in us thoughts of sustainability and the global environmental situation, through the eyes of 11 multicultural artists.
The most prominent of the artists is the now 92-year-old Franco Charais, an April revolutionary and former Lieutenant General of the Portuguese Army and one of the founding fathers of Portugal’s democracy, who turned after his career in politics into an artist.
The other 10 fantastic local artists are: Toin Adams, Henryka Woerle, Stella Barreto, Elke Heiner, Jessica Dunn, Sofia Barreto, Jill Stott, Meinke Flesseman, Kasia Wrona and Vitalij Manich.
Adding that “I myself am not a painter, a fact that actually made the project better! Because it meant that I needed to bring in artists to present their interpretations, in the form of paintings. Everyone sees the world differently, and none of us are right or wrong. And by presenting such a diverse set of interpretations side-by-side, the project becomes more inclusive, and therefore, it comes closer to the reality of our world.”
It was clear to see that every detail of this project has been carefully curated but an installation of this magnitude comes with its challenges, Karl Heinz agreed, where he affirmed that this is his most complex installation and artwork to date. “The real challenge has been the engineering. How to erect a free-floating sculpture of such dimensions without the use of machinery seemed first impossible until I had the idea to create first a base structure of the inner circle of globes, which would, when the installation had been fully erected, be removed and the inner circle only held through the peripheral structure.”
Further adding that “It took me and the welding artist Heinz Fereghin more than one year to work out the technique and to build the stainless-steel structure, it was very difficult also because wandering exhibitions are involved with very high costs. We needed 150 to 200 man-hours for transport, assembly and disassembly, which means I could not afford to have heavy machinery like a forklift or a crane, which would have made the work far easier. This installation, this sculpture is all done by hand, with two-step ladders – that is it, with five people making it happen.”
When asked how the sculpture will fair under the weather, Karl Heinz pointed out that “Storm nor rain will not be a problem because they are spheres so the wind can easily find its way around. The only challenge will be the intense sun during the summer months in the Algarve, however if the globes are turned slightly twice a year, they should last at least 20 years before needing maintenance.”
Karl Heinz admitted that he is not sure if he will continue to do wandering exhibitions due to the current economic environment, adding that “we have to see how the economy develops as I cannot do this myself and need the full support of municipalities in order to make it happen. However, we are reactivating my projects “Dance of the Bears” and “Passion” as we are starting to exhibit these and consequently sell them at Quinta dos Vales.”
This article was originally published in: Portugal News