Elan - the biggest existing massive clay
sculpture in the world
At the age of 25, Andrés Ginestet won a contest
to create a sculpture for the inner court of the Postbank regional headquarters
in Dortmund, Germany. His design was chosen, winning out over competitors
like the British sculptor, Tony Cragg and 2000 others. The following
10 years of his life were dedicated to his project called "ELAN".
Selon Henri Bergson, mouvement vital et créateur qui traverse
la matière en se diversifiant (1907).
The ELAN is a 30 ton clay figure, half female / half male, crawling
in its own corporal limits and trying to reach its own reflection in
a mirror. It is the only sculpture worldwide dedicated to emancipation
in its vast and universal meaning. We emancipate only from ourselves
trying to surmount our own limitations day after day. This concept also
was reflected in the materials used. A entirely new mixture of clay
plus new techniques of firing had to be invented in order to create
this sculpture which is the largest existing clay sculpture in the world.
With the German Reunification in 1990, emancipation became part of the
ongoing project. The budget was suddenly cut by 75% but Andrés
Ginestet opts to continue the work as scheduled reinvesting his profit
from the project and getting sponsors to support parts of the construction.
Nevertheless, he finishes the heroic work which includes music, poetry
and a perfume woven into the entire concept.
Unexpectedly, during the installation of the sculpture, the postalbank
employees began a general strike because they wanted to discuss the
concept of emancipation as expressed by the ELAN. They hoped to create
a more emancipated working climate. At the same time, the direction
of the Postbank decided to "close" the inner court, the site
of the ELAN. Since then, anybody who is not employed by the Postbank
has to ask permission to visit the ELAN - including Andrés Ginestet
(Steel: 25 x 8 x 16 m, 25t; Clay: 7 x 5 x 6 m, 30 t ; Music and Perfume)