HumanShapes has led contemporary internationally well-known artists to deal with commemorative sculpture, for the third year. They have made monuments dedicated to particularly notable personalities bound to the territorial context, selected by the same citizens and the City Council. The people in charge of Merano Arte, appointed by the City to curate the project as an association, have in fact selected a range of names among the various personalities who have distinguished themselves in contributing to the artistic, social and political life of the City. Then the citizens of Meran could vote or propose new names directly on the museum, library or social media page. The curatorial team selected the artists, the artwork of whom was deemed suited to the making of the torsos to be donated to the collectivity.
Sissi (Danila Olivieri), artist from Bologna, active in London, made a sculpture dedicated to the director, Bruno Jori, author of documentaries and feature films from the post-World War II period, and collaborator of Rai Sender Bozen since 1966.
Mimmo Paladino, one of the greatest representatives of the Italian Transavanguardia, conceived a bronze portrait of Franz J. Lenhart, advertising graphics designer of Austrian origin who moved to Meran in 1922.
Michael Fliri, originally from Bozen and resident in Vienna, sculpted the torso dedicated to the Russian composer Natalia Pravosudovič, who arrived in Meran in 1931 to recover from a disease. Here she resided until her death in 1988.
Finally Gina Thusek Klaber, a stateless artist, whom a residence in Meran was ordered, city in which she stayed for the rest of her life, is the subject of Francis Upritchard’s artwork, artist from New Zealand who lives and works in London.
A small publication has been published and curated by Arnold M. Dall’O on the occasion of the new HumanFigures, with texts by Rosanna Pruccoli (Bruno Jori), Patrick Gasser (Franz Lenhart), Bianca Marabini Zoeggeler (Natalia Pravosudovič), and Karin Dalla Torre (Gina Thusek Klaber)
Three contemporary artists have accepted the challenge, once again, to create a monument within the Human Shapes project, dedicated to particularly valuable personalities of Merano.
The British artist, Tony Cragg, has conceived a commemorative bronze bust of the father of the South Tyrolean Autonomy and politician, Silvius Magnago (1914-2010). The sculptural portrait of Piero Richard (1899-1967), businessman and promoter of the racetrack in Merano, was cast in stainless steel by the South Tyrolean artist Wil-ma Kammerer. The sculptor from the Gardena Valley, Walter Moroder, was chosen for the Human Shape of Rina Riva (1922-2010), artist and professor of experimental etching techniques.
The Human Shapes project, set along the Passirio River Promenades – a particularly quiet green area in Merano – aims to become a growing open-air gallery for the enjoyment of the residents of the town, as for those who visit the town.
Each community is shaped by single personalities who, thanks to their achievements, contribute to the general enrichment, as well as the cultural and intellectual strengthening of the area. The memory of people who have given a particular imprint to our society is extremely precious in our times, marked as they are by an increasing individualism. The Human Shapes project faces the issue of the plastic representation of a human being by extending the concept up to free interpretations achieved through contemporary art’s expressive means. This work represents a commemoration and an allegory of the personalities whom it is dedicated and it consciously diverges with classical representations.
The Human Shapes aspire to embellish the town of Merano for a long time to come, in order to provide both an imprint and a historical mark. They moreover strive to be an incentive for future generations, and stimulate the perception and the development of the city of Merano and of its surrounding areas as a cultural melting pot. In this context, first place is given to Art, as the element capable of safeguarding our regional cultural memory.
The three new busts expand the open-air gallery, opened in April 2015 with the Human Shapes of Emma Hellenstainer, Franz Kafka, and Antonio Manfredi. Stephan Balkenhol portrayed Emma Hellenstainer, pioneer of Merano’s and South Tyrol’s tourism. Urs Lüthi, to honor the writer Franz Kafka, shaped a Kafkian self-portrait seized in a transformational state. Because of a pulmonary disease, the writer from Prague had to spend several weeks in Merano in 1920. The sculptor from the Gardena Valley, Aron Demetz, made a commemorative monument in white marble dedicated to the poet and painter, Antonio Manfredi, adopted by the town of Merano.
Other four sculptures will complete the open-air gallery in the coming years.
On the occasion of the new Human Shapes, a small catalogue with texts by Philipp Achammer (Silvius Magnago), Rosanna Pruccoli (Piero Richard), and Enzo Di Martino (Rina Riva) was made.
Every community is marked by personalities that enrich and enhance its cultural and intellectual nature.
In times of growing individualization, the memory of those who gave a fresh impetus to a community become particularly valuable. The project "HumanShapes" shall take several years. It revolves around the three-dimensional representation of human beings, and yet it expands this term, so it can ultimately be interpreted freely,
using the means of expression of contemporary art. The works become memorials, symbols of man, and yet they consciously challenge the classical representation of individuals.
The project "HumanShapes" spreads along the bank of the Passer river, in an intimate, green, and serene part of Merano. It is intended as an open-air gallery, fringed by these memorials.
The first three personalities were selected together with various Merano institutions:
Emma Hellensteiner (1817–1904), pioneer of the Tyrolean hotel industry
Antonio Manfredi (1912–2001), poet and painter
Franz Kafka (1883–1924), writer
Three artists will attend to these initial HumanShapes:
Stefan Balkenhol (D) – Hellenstainer
Aron Demetz (I) – Manfredi
Urs Lüthi (CH) – Kafka
The project HumanShapes shall enrich Merano for a long time, giving impetus and closing memory gaps.
Moreover, it shall motivate future generations to regard Merano and its surroundings as a cultural melting pot and to further develop it. In this context, art becomes a preserver of cultural memory.
Idea and concept: Arnold Mario Dall’O
Coordination: Merano arte (Herta Torggler)
On behalf of the Merano municipality