Art in Motion: Dynamic Sculpture Evolves into Functional Handrail for Steep Stairs

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Moving art: kinetic sculpture changes into a useful handrail for steep stairs

In public art, an interesting mix of beauty and usefulness often takes center stage, captivating people’s attention and improving their relationships with the world around them. Karl-Henning Seemann, a German sculptor and draftsperson, does amazing work that shows how creativity and usefulness can work together. In a perfect balance of form and function, his sculpture not only tells an interesting story but also acts as a handrail to help people climb a steep set of stairs.

Photo: Cata65

The amazing sculpture, which has no name, was put in place in 1981 in the middle of the German neighborhood of Schwabisch Hall. It is located outside the district administration office and shows how skilled Seemann was at making things and how much he knew about kinetic art. Life-sized people are depicted in the work as they struggle to use strong ropes to pull stubborn animals up a mountain, which is meant to be a metaphor for life.

There are two separate parts to the sculpture, which combines artistic expression with useful use without any problems. At the bottom of the stairs, a scene of defiance and purpose plays out in front of the viewer. A stubborn horse with its feet firmly on the ground is tied to one end of a bronze rope by a strong woman. The scene freezes a moment that shows what it’s like to fight hard.

Photo: Cata65

As one goes up the stairs, the action keeps going, giving the story more depth and dimension. At the top, things are getting ready for an even bigger show. Three determined men work together to lift a goat to the symbolic top of the mountain. The scene is a waterfall of movement and feeling that has been frozen in time. Each figure shows how Seemann was able to bring his creations to life.

Seemann is very good at sculpture that does more than just show things; it can also change things and serve a purpose. The sculpture fits right in with the architecture and scenery, and its basic idea fits with the environment’s practical needs. This combination of beauty and purpose fits with Seemann’s artistic philosophy, which is to use movement, the fourth dimension of time, in sculpture while still keeping its link to gravity.

Photo: Mendel Hoffman

The interesting sculpture is placed by chance next to a set of steep stairs in the area known as the Kleine Treppe (small stairs). The bigger stairs, the Große Treppe, lead to the city’s market. These stairs, on the other hand, are used annually as an outdoor theater stage, with children’s shows held on the smaller steps.

There are no limits to Seemann’s art; it goes beyond static representation with its captivating movement and arresting reality. His sculptures are like live stories, telling vivid tales through figures that are frozen in motion and combining energy and stillness, movement and stillness. Each piece is a harmonious mix of opposites, a combination that shows the paradox of art: the marriage of the temporary and the permanent.

Photo: Cata65

As you walk up these amazing stairs, led by Seemann’s masterpiece, you’re not just going up a physical slope; you’re starting a journey through time and space, shaped by the hands of a master sculptor. The staircase turns into a stage, and Seemann’s characters are always engrossed in their captivating show. Every time you walk through Schwabisch Hall, you’re not only navigating a piece of architecture, you’re also becoming a part of the live art that is woven into the building’s rich cultural cloth.

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