Ode an die Freude · 2021

(ODE TO JOY) Figures de Décoration No. 9
27,5 x 50,0 x 27,5 cm
Interactive sculpture for the Beethoven Jubilee 2020/21

Exterior: wood, stencil print, acrylic lacquer - Interior walls: acrylic lacquer, gilded - porcelain figure: industrially manufactured, reworked with transfer overglaze, porcelain cold colours, gilded - music box case: ceramic, underglaze painting, partially porcelain cold colours, gilded - music box melody: Ode to Joy by Beethoven



an interactive music box sculpture




Joy, thou beauteous godly lightning,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire drunken we are ent’ring Heavenly,
thy holy home!
Thy enchantments bind together,
What did custom stern divide,
Every man becomes a brother,
Where thy gentle wings abide.

(Friedrich Schiller, translated by William F. Wertz)


In 1785, Friedrich Schiller wrote the poem "An die Freude" (To Joy), which speaks with much pathos of an ideal society of equal people bound together by a bond of joy and friendship. Following the euphoria of this vision, Ludwig van Beethoven set Schiller's poem to music in the 9th Symphony/Ode to Joy, which became the European anthem in 1955 as a purely instrumental arrangement. The values of peace, freedom and solidarity that Schiller's poem conveys, however, become the declaration of the European Union. 

A music box with the opening chords of Beethoven's symphony is activated when the archive box is opened, accompanied by the loud hum of clockwork. The archive box itself, the humming and the folded-up rescue umbrella* of the spinning goddess of Europe standing in a windstorm counteract the all-too-exaggerated kitsch inside the archive box. The poem's tear-jerking pathos, which even Schiller felt in his lifetime was averted from reality, in other words kitsch, is taken up in the sculpture "Ode to Joy" and confronted with today's political reality of our fragile European community.

* European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism