An Art Installation of More Than 100 Wagner Figurines Outside a German Theater Has Mysteriously Disappeared

"The work has now completely dissolved," said Ottmar Hörl, the artist behind the project.

Ottmar Hörl, You're Welcome (2023) installed outside the Bayreuth Festival Theatre. Photo: Elisabeth von Pölnitz-Eisfeld.

An artwork comprising more than 100 gold-painted statues of the 19th-century composer Wagner installed outside the Bayreuth Festival Theatre in Germany has mysteriously disappeared. Artist Ottmar Hörl suspects that his figurines were stolen.

The work, titled You’re Welcome, was installed at the end of July for the music festival dedicated to the works of Wagner that takes place annually at the theater, known locally as the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. The month-long event will close on August 28.

The 115 mini golden Wagners, which stand just 19-inches tall with their arms outstretched in a welcoming gesture, started to disappear in small numbers just days after they were installed.

“The work has now completely dissolved,” Hörl said, according to Monopol. “I’ve never had that in 30 years.” He did admit, however, that usually he expects to lose a few pieces from his serial installations. Collectively, he estimates that these figures are worth about €12,000 ($13,200).

The Bayreuth City Police Inspectorate have been alerted of the disappearance and have launched an investigation, putting out a plea to anyone who may have accidentally taken a figurine to return it without any penalty. According to Hörl, it is unlikely that the Wagners were taken as a souvenir by festival guests. Instead, he believes that they were stolen during the night.

If the missing figures aren’t returned, he will be unable to replace them because the manufacturing company is on summer vacation.

Serial sculptures like these are a speciality of Hörl’s, whose other large scale installations have included 111 mini guardian angels fixed to the facade of an old church, 60 mini Greta Thunberg figurines, 250 mini images of the German poet Hölderlin, and a sea of opal green and gold Beethovens.

 

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