Treidelpfad

2008, Johannes Brus
Remagen-Kripp – Rheinallee / Ferry dock

For centuries, Kripp was an important staging post along the towpath. Horses on the river bank towed the ships upriver. At this location Johannes Brus has erected a monument to the hard-working carthorses. He reverses the working conditions of the time by freeing his bronze horses of all burdens and placing them at rest on a concrete boat.

  • © Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Foto: Claudia Görres
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    Johannes Brus – Treidelpfad, 2008
    © Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, photo: Claudia Görres
  • © Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Foto: Claudia Görres
    2 / 2
    Johannes Brus – Treidelpfad, 2008
    © Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, photo: Claudia Görres

About the work

With his sculpture Treidelpfad (»Towpath«) on the banks of the Rhine at Remagen-Kripp, Johannes Brus refers to the history of the place. Kripp was an important staging post along the towpath between Cologne and Koblenz before steamships replaced the traditional horse-drawn barges from 1860 onwards. For centuries the ships had been towed upriver with the help of carthorses.

Horses are a recurrent motif in Johannes Brus's sculptures and photographs.

Towing the ships was back-breaking work for the horses. The creatures often became blind because of the sun's reflection shining in their left eye. And the constant pull of the rope from the side meant that they were eventually broken-backed.


In his sculpture, Johannes Brus reverses the working conditions. His horses are freed from all burdens as they stand on the deck of a concrete boat; one is gazing upriver and the other downriver.


Horses are a recurrent motif in Johannes Brus's sculptures and photographs. Since the mid-1970s they have appeared in his photographs, where they refer to the Blue Horse of Franz Marc. Later, however, they were freed from this context and became sculptures: as horses made of concrete – massive and incontrovertible, sometimes coated with the famous Yves Klein blue powder colour (International Klein Blue). Sometimes the sculptures acquire a rider. Sometimes the horses are small and delicate, and may even be miniatures. Recently Johannes Brus has also had them cast in bronze.


They are all bearers of tales and encounters, and this also applies to Brus's work Treidelpfad. The history of the location provides an ideal breeding ground for Johannes Brus's artistic interest in transforming his pet subject into another sculpture. The realisation of the work Treidelpfad by Johannes Brus was created in cooperation with the engineer Christian Pettersen.



About the artist

Johannes Brus was born in Gelsenkirchen in 1942. He lives and works in Essen-Kettwig.

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