2001, Thomas Huber
Remagen – Fährgasse / Rhine Promenade
The building signboard designed by Thomas Huber entitled Ein neues Panorama für Remagen (»A new Panorama for Remagen«) shows a fictitious and utopian design for the panorama of the village of Erpel on the opposite bank. The signboard refers to the lost of the bridge of Remagen, which originally joined the two villages but which was subsequently destroyed. A building signboard was originally positioned on the Erpel side and showed a view of the re-designed Remagen promenade but it was removed in 2006 at the request of the inhabitants of Erpel.
The original version consisted of two pictorial building signboards which Thomas Huber designed for the Riverside Sculpture Park in Remagen. They were placed on either bank by the landing piers for the Rhine ferry »Nixe«, which operates between Erpel and Remagen as a replacement for the destroyed »Bridge at Remagen«.
The pictorial building signpost on the riverbank at Remagen shows a panorama of Erpel developed by Huber. The building signpost on the riverbank at Erpel showed Remagen with a re-designed riverside promenade.
Both pictures are part of his utopian vision which is reflected in his long-term project »Huberville« and in his works series »Bauvorhaben« (»Building Projects«). Here Thomas Huber designs his ideal city with hotels, residences for senior citizens, broadcasting stations, museums and charnel houses through the traditional medium of the picture. He is always concerned with visions which correspond with real conditions on site. Huber translates into our time the postulate of being »deceptively real« that is rooted in the art of Antiquity: a picture is only well made when birds attempt – as in the works of Zeuxis, the artist of Antiquity – to peck at the fruit in the painting because they think they are real.
Huber translates into our time the postulate of being »deceptively real« that is rooted in the art of Antiquity
The pictorial building signboard Ein neues Panorama für Remagen (»A new panorama for Remagen«) on the Remagen side is still in existence on the Rhine promenade in Remagen. The pictorial building signboard Neugestaltung der Promenade von Remagen (»Re-design of the promenade at Remagen«) on the Erpel side was dismantled on 28 June 2006 following a resolution by the village council of Erpel dated May 2006. The five-year display period for which permission was granted initially was not extended.
The resolution was preceded by repeated criticism voiced by the residents of Erpel. They felt that Thomas Huber's vision Ein neues Panorama für Remagen was disparaging. In their opinion the pictorial building signboard disfigured the historic view of the village. Discussions that took place beside the pictorial building signboard in Remagen about the supposed new planning of Erpel in the near or distant future were a repeated source of irritation. Was it possible that this »building project« might even be realised?
Huber's deliberate confusion of reality and pictorial vision thus created new realities. Ein neues Panorama für Remagen, the view criticised by the citizens of Erpel, is still on view on the Remagen side. And by contrast, the version accepted by the residents of Erpel – Neugestaltung der Promenade von Remagen – is tucked away in an art depot.
Thomas Huber was born in Zurich in 1955. He lives and works in Berlin. In addition to his building signboard installation for the Riverside Sculpture Park in Remagen, the artist also designed the public library of the Arp Museum.