Eagle’s wings at Chiemseehof - New sculpture by Anselm Kiefer in the courtyard of the Salzburg seat of government / Decoration of the Land Salzburg for Reinhold Würth


From now on it will attract all the attention at Chiemseehof: the sculpture “The Language of the Birds”, a pair of wings made of bronze measuring almost three meters and guarding a pile of books like a treasure. On 4 April, the object by Anselm Kiefer, one of the world’s most important contemporary artists, was revealed in the courtyard of the seat of government of the State of Salzburg that is now closed to cars. The sculpture is on loan from the Würth Collection.

It was Governor Wilfried Haslauer’s idea to create a new focus in Chiemseehof. In collaboration with Salzburg Foundation, its President Karl Gollegger, Art Director Walter Smerling and thanks to the support by Reinhold Würth, this idea was put into action. For his outstanding commitment in Salzburg, Governor Hauslauer awarded Reinhold Würth the Decoration of the Land Salzburg on Thursday evening.

International premium art on the Walk of Modern Art

“This impressive object with its strong symbolism, intellectuality and complexity also creates a crosslink to politics. Democracy requires education, and education opens up new perspectives and vision. Having said this, this sculpture may also inspire Salzburg’s state politics,” said Governor Wilfried Haslauer. Karl Gollegger, President of Salzburg Foundation, understands Kiefer’s latest sculpture and the other objects on the Walk of Modern Art as a “contribution to further strengthen Salzburg’s cultural image in Europe.”

Kiefer worked roughly twelve months on the sculpture

“Anselm Kiefer is an intellectual explorer. His work is characterized by its complexity of material and intellectual essence,” Walter Smerling, Art Director of Salzburg Foundation, outlines the special qualities of the artist’s oeuvre. And Reinhold Würth highlighted: “I am a keen admirer of Anselm Kiefer. Actually, his art moves me every day because his works radiate a tremendous power.”

Governor Haslauer visited him in Paris stating he wanted a piece of art instead of cars in Chiemseehof, the artist himself said about the work's creation. The object itself was created in the metropolis at the Seine and casted in Berlin. It took Kiefer roughly twelve months to complete his work.

Symbol of knowledge

“I thought is vertical. But I see all its layers. In my painting I tell stories in order to show what lies behind history,” says Anselm Kiefer, approaching a phantom with his latest work: the alchemist Fulcanelli, who is said to have worked in France in the 1920s. In his writings, he mentions a secret “language of the birds” blazing the trail to unveiling hidden truths; the experience of absolute enlightenment. With his bronze sculpture for Chiemseehof, Kiefer refers to a front page of a Fulcanelli treatise showing a raven sitting enthroned on a skull. For Kiefer, the books are a symbol of knowledge, tradition and wisdom, which you cannot entirely obtain but only approach.

Wings weighing tons

Almost three meters high, 1.80 meters wide and weighing several thousand kilograms—the Kiefer sculpture will automatically catch the eye of everyone visiting Chiemseehof. Special transport had to be arranged from Berlin to Salzburg. The object arrived in Salzburg well-covered on Tuesday and with a crane was lifted onto the conglomerate pillar measuring roughly one meter in front of the recently refurbished part of the government building. “This pillar weighs 7,000 kilograms. To securely put up the eagle’s wings and the pillar weighing tons, a fundament with metal reinforcement had to be concreted,” Josef Leitner of state government office management explained.

On loan from the Würth Collection

“The Language of the Birds” enriches the Walk of Modern Art founded by Salzburg Foundation in 2002 and including works of internationally renowned artists put up all over Salzburg’s old town, which are all on loan from the Würth Collection, one of Germany’s largest and most important private collections of the 20th and 21st century.

Prestigious award by the Land Salzburg for Reinhold Würth

Reinhold Würth, entrepreneur, collector and patron of science and art, was awarded the Decoration of the Land Salzburg to express “the gratitude for his ties to the cultural land of Salzburg and for being a generous patron of a series of renowned domestic cultural institutions,” said Governor Haslauer.

Reinhold Würth, born in Öhringen in the German Federal State of Baden-Württemberg in 1935, started an apprenticeship in his father’s screw business at the age of 14. He turned the company into a business leading the market in the field of connecting and assembly technology, today having some 77,000 employees worldwide. Today, he is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Würth Group’s Family Trusts.

Internationally renowned artist Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen in the German Federal State of Baden-Württemberg in 1945. He lives and works in Paris. Kiefer belongs to the most important and successful German artists after 1945 and ranges among the most influential artists of today. His works are on display at all high-ranking international art exhibitions and prestigious museums worldwide. Kiefer holds several honorary doctorates and was awarded many prizes and state decorations, including the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art in 2005.

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