When Manfred Wakolbinger is commissioned with the creation of an installation for a public space, he inevitably includes the peculiarities of this space, explores them, and unfolds a dialogue of form and content. In 2011, after having received a request from the Salzburg Foundation to produce a Placement for a place of his choice within the city, his choice caused considerable surprise and a corresponding amount of resistance. The squalid stretch of riverside of the Salzach seemed insufficiently representative to the city council, but before Wakolbinger’s inner eye, just the appropriate connecting and upgrading aesthetic “disruption.” He was right: The sculpture Connections has transformed the dubious site into a popular meeting spot over the years. To him, this entails the deep meaning of art in public: Revaluation through a dialogue between architectural cityscape and artistic insertions in order to directly and positively affect a city’s society. In the literal sense, however, it is not always a revaluation, but frequently a recollection, like for example with the monumental installation Cloud in Wiener Neustadt: on the building ground of the school, there used to be a nursery, and the students continued its tradition single-handedly by replanting and nurturing all grassy areas. Wakolbinger’s solution was consequently a stainless steelroot- plant-cloud duo, which drills itself into the ground, and grows out of it as an invitation for students to linger. The upper part of the statue rises above this place of social get-togethers, strives towards the sky and opens its cloud-like chalices to the nurturing sources of sun, rain and air.
Connection – Salzburg