Certain natural events – however seemingly insignificant – achieve so perfectly a higher symbolic meaning, that it is hard not to see in them a divine message. Such is the case with the only equestrian statue erected to honour former German chancellor Angela Merkel, which yesterday collapsed spontaneously under its own weight.
The eccentric tribute was unveiled on 8 October 2021 to commemorate Merkel’s chancellorship on the grounds of the Tempel Museum in Etsdorf, by “communications designer” and artist Wilhelm Koch.
Koch founded the Tempel Museum in 2010 in a defunct schoolbuilding as an exhibit space and a dubious monument to democracy and the “European idea,” whatever that is.
In a Spiegel interview from 2021, Koch characterised the monument both as “ironic” and as a “personal tribute” to the former chancellor. Its unveiling supplemented an exhibit on equestrian statues. The purpose was to provide oblique commentary on the fact that such representations have fallen out of favour in the liberal West, where they seem particularly unsuited to the doughty, dingy, bureaucratised politicians who plague us, and of whom Merkel is especially paradigmatic. He denied the sculpture a pedestal, because Merkel is too “modest” for such a thing. He also dispensed with a saddle and reins, explaining that Merkel “doesn’t need” such accoutrements to ride a horse and that he “didn’t want to construct a caricature.” He placed her on an American Quarter Horse, fantasising that it might have been “a gift from Donald Trump.”
The sculpture itself was constructed of recycled light concrete via an “innovative” 3D printing process:
The complex object demonstrates the great opportunity to free construction from its technical and geometric constraints through intelligent material printing processes. At the same time, this process protects the environment and resources, because art and buildings are produced without formwork and waste.
It turns out that “free[ing]” sculpture from “technical and geometric constraints” (read: Koch’s total lack of sculpting ability and talent) while also “protect[ing] the environment and resources” has a downside. Unlike every other equestrian statue everywhere, Merkel and her horse couldn’t withstand the weather. Before long her right arm and the horse’s head had fallen off and had to be glued back on.
After the repairs, Koch decided to ditch the bronze and paint the whole thing a horrendous white instead, lending the ensemble an unsettling plastic aspect.
As of yesterday, the heavens have relieved the world of this monstrosity:
How fitting that these dubious ruins now decorate the grounds of the sad Tempel Museum, founded in an ugly defunct school building to commemorate Europe. Nothing could more perfectly represent the state of the European Union, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Merkel’s legacy in 2023. The former chancellor coasted on the successes of prior statesmen, waved in lunatic policy after lunatic policy merely to shore up her own political position, subjected Germans to some of the longest and hardest pandemic restrictions on the Continent, and then bowed out of office before facing the consequences of her mismanagement and incompetence. Divine forces have transformed Koch’s exercise in Merkel idolatry into a withering commentary on the state of things.