Walter de Maria
5 Kontinente Skulptur, 1989

Walter De Maria’s 5 Kontinente Skulptur [5 Continents Sculpture] in the Daimler complex Stuttgart-Möhringen is conspicuous for its monumentality and the elemental force of its ‘lapidary’ form. It took almost two years to realize this project, which was conceived in 1985. The lumps of marble, quartz and magnesite weigh almost 250 tons. Their rough, broken state and their different shades, density and brilliance reveal that they come from various quarries. As the title of the work explains, they originated in five different continents. The age of the stones used lies between 22 million and 1.8 billion years. They are mixed in equal parts, and thus represent a synthesis of the entire globe that is both material and ideal: ideal not just because of the presentation described above, but also on the basis of the ideal form of the cube, which serves the stones as a vessel. This abstract geometrical solid, whose side length of 5 meters was chosen with considerable care, expresses human creative will as a source and driving force behind synthetic achievement. Both the rational form and the transparent surface – the massive steel braces were reduced to the technically possible minimum – become vivid symbols of the effective presence of the human spirit. De Maria’s artistic intention is to illustrate nature’s elemental power and potential effect using resources observed in nature itself.

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