Friedrich Roeingh, the editor of the regional Mainzer Allgemeine Zeitung picked up on my research and published this article in yesterday’s weekend edition. (DeepL.com translation below)
No more kicking the can down the road – the ball’s now firmly in the museum’s court.
If you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor…
Mainzer Gutenberg-Museum: Bronze panels by the artist Karl-Heinz Krause have to make way for construction work
MAINZ – The relief landscape on the four shimmering bronze plates reads like a Who’s Who of black art. The sculptor Karl-Heinz Krause, who lives in Mainz and also created the firebird sculpture (1970) on the banks of the Rhine, has stamped hundreds of printing blocks from different eras into the metal alloy. A horizontal “walk of fame” of the writing culture. If you pass the steel gate construction to the inner courtyard of the Gutenberg Museum, your gaze wanders slightly past the plastic slabs in front of it like a lock wing. And yet, the striking flanks of the entrance line symbolize the groundbreaking force of Gutenberg’s invention. The bronze doors may seem a little drab, but the story of Krause’s distinctive gate phalanx – which is not always glorious – is also changeable.
Born in Angermunde in 1924, the internationally renowned artist was commissioned in 1961 to flank the shell construction with bronze plates produced at the Noack picture foundry in Berlin. The man-high metal shields were to create a metaphorical connection to the former Renaissance noble court “Zum Marienberg”, today’s “Römischen Kaiser”, according to the intention of master builder Rainer Schell and Krause.
At the opening of the shell building in 1962, the doors worth 140,000 marks (which now amounts to more than 300,000 euros) were finished. Mainz celebrated its new museum – and Krause’s art. However, as the online platform “Mainz Daily Photo” painstakingly draws in a detailed blog, this was then dismantled as a result of the work on the extension building in 2001 without any prospect of resurrection. Only at the instigation of the former museum director Hans Halbey did the modest letterpress reliefs find their way back to the museum – in a desolate condition, poorly stored and damaged on the urban building yard in Henkackerweg. In May 2001, Krause received a photo of the relief wings mounted in the midst of paving stone pallets on plain wooden planks in the open air, bearing a handwritten note from Anton Maria Keim, then head of the department of culture – together with the vague promise that a concept for their “future use in due course” had been developed. Halbey finally managed to re-install the bronze plates in a slightly modified form in their original environment about two to eleven years ago.
But now the art ensemble is threatened with another goal closing. The panels of the now highly aged artist are located just in the radius of the excavation area for the planned biblical tower and, according to the Mainz building management, will have to be replaced by the first section of the museum’s extension. Work is scheduled to start at the beginning of January next year. After all, the precious bronze plates will not be exposed again to the construction yard. Friedrich Hofmann from the Department of Building and Culture promises that the reliefs will be professionally secured and stored in a fixed place. Like the heritage-protected remains of the former “House of England’s King”, the Gutenberg Gates are to be visibly integrated into the museum’s future appearance. But how and when this is to be done and whether a worthy place for the works of art can be found at all is like a block of seven seals. Even though the leading DFZ architect Stephen Kausch can imagine a later use within the shell construction – a renaissance of Karl-Heinz Krause’s impressive gate wings seems quite unlikely in the foreseeable future.