Around 1989, Mercedes-Benz acquired a group of eleven large sculptures for their site in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, and for the public areas at their former Stuttgart-Möhringen headquarters. They included key works by Walter De Maria, Norbert Kricke and Klaus Staudt. This was the start of a collection of large sculptures that now includes about 30 works – some of them commissioned – that are associated not just with their various locations but, above all, with the company’s identity.
Sculptures in Berlin
From 1995 to 2002, during development of the Daimler Potsdamer Platz, site, eight international artists were selected. One existing sculpture was purchased from them, or one site-related sculpture commissioned. From closer up, Keith Haring’s Boxers salute both arrivals and people who are traveling by: the figures’ sporting yet aggressive gestures could also be read as an embrace. Robert Rauschenberg’s riding bikes create a no less magical counterpoint world to the perfect façades in Potsdamer Platz, to the cars and shopwindow displays, whereas Frank Stella’s dynamic Prince Frederick Arthur of Homburg becomes part of the innovative energy of Potsdamer Platz. Mark di Suvero’s Galileo in the pool by the Musical Theater creates a highly individual accent through its monumental size and expansive energy. Strollers are lured into the great atrium of the former Daimler Financial Services headquarters by Nam June Paik’s video work, which runs wild over column and ceiling. Inside they confront Jean Tinguely’s Méta Maxi, one of the largest works in the Art Collection and a major landmark in Tinguely’s oeuvre. It will be relocated to Stuttgart in 2014/2015. François Morellet’s neon installation Light Blue conjures up a blue rainbow in the inner courtyard of the atrium, which was designed by Renzo Piano. In autumn 2002, an airy and cheerful sculpture ‘landed’ on the roofs of the Daimler site in Potsdamer Platz. Visually it is a cross between a mobile space capsule and a bird-house. The flag on the colorful metal creature Gelandet (Landed) extends cheekily twelve meters into the Berlin sky. It was conceived by the Dutch sculptor Auke de Vries to conclude the Potsdamer Platz sculpture ensemble.
Sculptures in Stuttgart-Möhringen
The nine large sculptures for our corporate group’s former headquarters in Stuttgart-Möhringen, designed in the mid-1980s, are on the whole more strongly committed to a constructive and minimalist approach. Here, too, a mingling nature and technology is a dominant theme. Walter De Maria’s white stones, taken from five continents constitute a compressed mass of geohistory; the metal sculptures by George Rickey and Norbert Kricke illustrate the character of time and movement as a natural medium of our existence; the great ‘Piazza’ was designed by Max Bill in dialogue with the architects of the Möhringen groups office site (the Düsseldorf architects BHLM, Beucker, Haider, Langhammer and Maschlanka).
Sculptures in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim
Ten thousand employees walk past Bernhard Heiliger’s large patinated iron sculpture Tag und Nacht [Day and Night] every day. It was positioned outside the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Untertürkheim (Stuttgart) in 1983. Since then millions of visitors from all over the world have strolled around the artwork and into the Mercedes-Benz Museum at the former location. The sculpture opens out like an organic inventory of a geometrical and technical formal language, providing an architecturally highly varied factory site with an artistically defined center and a face that is powerful in its aesthetic impact. Natural and narrative associations are also central to the monumental bronze sculpture Taurus (Early Forms) by Tony Cragg, which brings together the molecular and geological basic elements in the form of a wreath-like body. The granite sculpture by Ulrich Rückriem appears to have grown there by itself, like a tree in its natural environment.
Sculptures around the Mercedes-Benz Museum Stuttgart
Two significant artworks – the column sculptures by Heinz Mack and Max Bill, which are 42 meter and 30 meter high respectively – are situated in close proximity to the Mercedes-Benz Museum. These sculptures were the first of eight works, part of a concept developed specifically for this site. Franz Erhard Walther’s wall text piece Wortfeld [Word Field], was commissioned for the entrance area of the museum, and was designed by the UN studio van berkel & bos in Amsterdam. As one enters the museum, it is succeeded by Max Bill’s large relief combination and by one of his Möbius strip sculptures, which are followed in turn by a monumental panorama photography by Walter Niedermayr and by the murals by Jan van der Ploeg and Stéphane Dafflon.
Sculptures in Sindelfingen
Since the mid-1990s four large works have been acquired for the extensive Daimler factory site in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart, where many vehicle series are assembled. Situated in multiple locations, these artworks provide aesthetic foci for this open architectural structure aesthetically in various places. These airy and vigorous three-dimensional works by Nigel Hall and Norbert Kricke stand in the open air like natural monuments. Finally, there is Gerold Miller’s mural Plan 3 for the Center of Excellence (formerly Maybach), which seems to bring the Daimler Art Collection’s early stages and history into the 21st century with its articulation of the key abstract tendencies within Modernism. Julian Schnabel’s bronze sculpture Queequeq, from 2010, takes its name from the harpooner character in Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick” (1854). The sculpture displays the tail fluke of the legendary white whale – standing on its head, as it were.