Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad

 

Stillness and moving reflections – the sculpture fountain directly by the shore of Lake Constance

 

Arrival and departure – moving moments in man’s path through life.

And they are particularly striking when there is clearly a long distance ahead of or behind the traveller. Here a town on the sea or a large lake makes coming home or going away most emotional, as one arrives or leaves by ship with deliberation, in the true sense of the word. And there is always a long distance before or behind somebody, in which only water can wash away the last traces.

In Germany, Lake Constance in par­ticular, the country’s largest expanse of fresh water, can give the experience of a reasonably long trip by boat. Numerous places on the German, Swiss and Aus­trian shores receive and say farewell to their residents and visitors – but only a few of them have imposing landmarks to catch the eye. Immenstaad on the north shore used to be one of these. Here the lake widens out to the south-east to the part of it known as the Sea of Baden, and Immenstaad, on a small northern bay, looks south to the majestic chain of the Alps. Over 2 million people a year embark and disembark here.

Since 1991 they have been taking a bearing on a landmark, meeting at a particular place or leaving the little town looking back at a sculpture that is meant to be unforgettable. A land­mark on the landing pier, made of stone, bronze and water. A bronze figure 4.5 metres high grows up out of 12 upright stones, local Dornbirn glauco­nite and Rohrschach sandstone. It faces south, and forms a sensitive point at which the forces of sun, water and wind seem to be concentrated. Its gesture is open to interpretation: water, falling and atomizing according to the strength of the wind gives it a sense of lightness, and can transform rigid metal into a waving flag. It points to the sky, stands in the water, and mediates between the two.

 

Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad

The sculpture is put in place.

 

Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad

The natural stone steles are arranged radially.

 

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Design sketch:

The sculpture was cast in bronze.

Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad

 

Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad

The individual natural stones reveal wonderful, artistically developed shapes that channel the water.

 

Fountain sculpture in ImmenstaadFountain sculpture in Immenstaad

Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad

 

Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad

The water collects in a large stepped roundel and then flows, regulated by weirs if necessary, through channels and back into Lake Constance.

On the land side the fountain runs radially in the form of natural stone steles placed on a bed of river pebbles. The location needs a scale of about 300 square metres to develop its full symbolic power and range of uses.

‘Free man in the elemental universe’ is Herbert Dreiseitl’s name for his bronze sculpture. We can believe this – or something completely different. And it is also possible to have different ideas about using the sculpture. The ensemble as a whole is not meant to be just a landmark. It has certainly become a popular meeting-point and place to spend some time. Children like to climb around the steles, and play in the water among the drainage channels with their little weirs, and to use the gravel bed as an area for their own excursions. Adults join in the games, work out the flow pat­terns of the water on sculpted steles or lose themselves in the visual interplay of distance and proximity. When the lake floods parts of the fountain when the snow melts in summer people are reminded of things that are happening beyond the sculpture, in the far distance. Perhaps a boat is departing for that destination.

 

Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad

Seen with the horizontal breadth of the lake – with the Swiss Alps in the back­ground – the fountain provides a vertical landmark.

 

The water and wind sculpture in a fohn storm

 

Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad

Children find little weirs that can be used to regulate the flow of the water back into Lake Constance.

 

Fountain sculpture in ImmenstaadFountain sculpture in ImmenstaadFountain sculpture in ImmenstaadFountain sculpture in ImmenstaadFountain sculpture in ImmenstaadFountain sculpture in ImmenstaadFountain sculpture in Immenstaad

The fountain from above. Its radial basic shape is continued in individual stone blocks on the shore of Lake Constance.

 

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Fountain sculpture in Immenstaad