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Banksy? Or Banksy-like?

Opposite our apartment in Koblenz, on the embankment wall of train line, we spotted this little piece of street art.

Largely on its own, not surrounded by other street art or graffiti.

It was down low, level with the footpath. Possibly easily missed. I know I walked past it a couple of times, my focus on finding my way and not getting lost, before I noticed it.

I googled it. And could only find two images. One in Cologne. But there were no details. And one that looks like the same as mine.

It is definitely subversive with a strong political message.

Anyone know anymore? Or able to find out more?

Making the utilitarian an aesthetic asset

Drain covers. Do you ever notice them?

Me neither.

Until I went to Germany. At the first town, Koblenz, I noticed the design on the drain covers.

Koblenz

Was the boy vomiting? Spitting out the water because it is awful? Neither seemed appropriate for the local water board.

I found out the story of the Schlängel and have previously posted about the statue of the spitting boy.

Then I kept my eyes peeled at each town for their water covers.

Sure enough, I spotted different covers at the next town, Trier.

Trier

Then more:

Bremen

Goslar

Wildeshausen

Quedlinburg

Mainz

I love the attention to detail. Decorating the utilitarian, and making it into art.

I love the branding of each town. Taking an image or symbol, and putting it, in a subtle and artist way, on things all around us. Things we normally ignore as we stride or dawdle around.

The symbols don’t have that appearance of being designed by marketing copywriters or designers that change with fashion. They are something that stand for more than marketing. Something that comes from the town’s history and has, and will, stand for centuries.

I get that symbols can be problematic – who has been overlooked, excluded, repressed; who does not feel a symbol represents them. Maybe it helps that Germany is largely a mono-culture? I couldn’t imagine what symbol could be placed on the drains of Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane and whether the symbol would be accepted by most, and be one that would be acceptable in years and decades hence.

All these little details add to the beauty of each town. There’s artwork everywhere.

Public art in Germany

The town centres of Germany have a wealth of street art, in the form of statues and fountains. Some quirky. Some traditional. Some representing stories of important people or myths or local legends.

Äachen. Outside a book store

Cologne / Köln

Wernigerode

Some invite viewer interaction. Some require viewer action to operate. They are not just for looking at and for tourists to take photos of.

I love how the statues gives a focus for parents walking their children. I can imagine it adds a purpose and an element of fun when a parent suggests a walk to burn their child’s energy. “Let’s go for a walk to see the pigs.”

Bremen – Which came first. The street name? The statue? The historic use, of course.

And who wouldn’t want to jump on them?

Bremen

I love how some statues call for a tactile response. You can see where some statues are repeatedly stroked or patted or sat on.

Bremen. Everyone wants to pat the donkey.

I love how they give an opportunity for passing on local stories.

Koblenz

Koblenz

I love how they give a focus, a central point to a square or Stadtplatz. Somewhere to meet or hang.

I love how they add to the beauty of a place. They catch your eye and force you to have an emotional response. Like it? Love it? Confused by it? Unsure of it? Want to look more closely?

Mainz

Mainz. I could imagine in summer kids jumping under the umbrellas to get wet.

This one’s a ring in. From Como, Italy.

Wernigerode

Äachen

Boppard

Koblenz

Koblenz

Koblenz

Baden Baden

Mainz

Koblenz

Äachen. You make the fountain operate by pressing a button. It’s not obvious at first.