1985, Lajos Barta
Remagen – Friedensmuseum / Brücke von Remagen
As one of the leading Hungarian artists, Lajos Barta fled from the Stalinist regime in 1965 and lived and worked until 1967 in Bahnhof Rolandseck, with which he maintained close ties throughout his life. Some of this works from this period are held in the collection of the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck. Permanently influenced by the design vocabulary of Hans Arp, Barta created the bronze sculpture Liebeskraft (»Love Power«), in which organic and abstract forms are combined. In 1985 it was placed in front of the Peace Museum Bridge at Remagen and has been in its possession ever since.
A few months before his death, Barta was able to experience the installation of his work. Liebeskraft was his last big sculpture. The project dated back to 1982, when the mayor of Remagen at the time, Hans Peter Kürten, established contact with Barta. He wanted to replace a defused bomb from the Second World War, which was standing in front of one of the towers of the »Bridge at Remagen«, with a symbol of peace. In the meantime the bridge tower had become the home of a Peace Museumrecalling the historical events surrounding the Bridge at Remagen at the end of the Second World War.
Barta developed the sculpture Liebeskraft on the basis of a small-format drawing in pen and China ink dating from 1973. He used the drawing as a reference and formed a plaster cast, which was then completed in bronze at the end of 1984. In May 1985 the work was enlarged to three metres and subsequently cast. The ink drawing and the completed sculpture symbolise carrying and being carried. The carrying part recalls a stylised torso striding and indicates a direction of movement which runs at right angles to the Rhine. The element being carried embraces the torso and looks alive, like limbs.
With its subject of carrying, the sculpture stands not only for the bridge in its characteristic function but also for the dialogue between people and nations. With regard to the bridge at Remagen, which was destroyed during the Second World War, the sculpture represents a symbol of peace. In Liebeskraft we also find that the abstract symbolisation of human relationships – masculinity and femininity, fusion, activity and passivity – becomes one in the form of togetherness.
Lajos Barta was born in Budapest in 1899 and died in Cologne in 1986.