A Gigantic Public Artwork for the European Central Bank Will Exist Only Under One Condition

Trust me, says the artist, it's going to be huge.

Bulgarian-born artist Nedko Solakov is planning a gigantic new work for the European Central Bank (ECB). It’s going to adorn the soaring ground-floor atrium of the ECB’s Frankfurt headquarters, a twin-towered glass skyscraper by Coop Himmelb(l)au, and will stand nearly 175 feet high.

The downside of this artwork is that it will likely never exist, as it is promised to come into being only when the ECB’s work is completely done.

So for now, the artist has installed a giant hunk of aluminum bearing a plaque that tells readers how great the artwork will be.

It reads:

A Site-Specific Piece on Standby

On this very spot, a glorious site-specific artwork will be erected, which will effectively visualise three of the most important qualities of the European Central Bank—its stability, independence and flexibility. Created by one of the most significant European artists working today, the artwork* will be installed at a specific moment in the future when we—all of the employees of ECB—have definitely achieved all of our goals, when all the tasks on our agenda are entirely fulfilled, when we are all completely satisfied with what we have done, are doing and will do for the common benefit of The European Union.

*The work is planned to be 53 meters high, almost reaching the ceiling above your head.

The plaque bears a seemingly handwritten correction, pointing out that there should be a “the” before “ECB” in the second sentence.

The artist told Reuters that the artwork was partly a joke about the limitations under which he had to work. “I couldn’t use anything flammable, it couldn’t be too heavy, it couldn’t be too high because it would cross the laser security beams,” he said.

Solakov won the commission in November 2014, along with British conceptual artist Liam Gillick and Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone; the three artists shared a €1.25 million ($1.4 million) budget.


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