Eugen Gomringer

Ladies and Gentlemen,

that our society - society understood in the broadest of terms - has difficulties with monuments has not only resulted from the discussions, and controversies regarding a holocaust monument in Berlin. It is virtually only dictatorships that can afford uninhibited monuments of all possible dimensions. For them the aesthetics are fixed. With us it is however not so, and one of the difficulties in a democracy will always be to agree on a specific visual Statement.

In Hof we now have an unbelievably good solution. Whilst quietly pondering, I called it a stroke of genius. The artist Andreas Theurer defined the essence of Wirth with conviction. Yes, he has brought everything we understand under Wirth under one heading which we recognize as the “Deutsche Tribüne”. Also for non-historians the appearance of the concept “Deutsche Tribüne" is extraordinarily pertinent and salient.

How should this periodical take on a realistic form, without becoming an imitation or historical requisite, a pastiche of the past? A further filtration led to text and font as a connection to the writer Wirth. How does one represent writing, sentences, words in the open? Thereto came the locality, a small square. This is advantageous for democracy, better than a half hidden concealment in a park, better than a solemnity on a hill. Since wherever people are led through public Spaces one ultimately finds a square. The square concentrates, even in the most disparate environment. Thus everything comes together: the "Tribune" in the form of a stage fits on a square which concentrates on the font and the negotiable material provided by the cobbles.
The most difficult problem however, is daresay the reminder of the word and its presentation. It is worth considering that, also in its symbolic form, it should not be trampled. A readable text would refer to years before or about 1848, and therefore become part of history. Theurer wishes to convey something else. He allows only the title “Deutsche Tribüne" to remain, but in a manner which appears to remove it from history. The "D" of "Deutsch" is missing. It is thus a page of all time. In Order that it all agrees completely and no realistic excerpt of the "Tribüne" comes underfoot the large page is as if moved by a wave and the writing on the wave is writing of eternity; it is merely dots. Moving text, moving writing is a beautiful monument arid, in my opinion, very dose to Wirth's life and moving battles.

Thus art can, when it clearly defines itself and its mandate, dare a gesture in public.









Extracts from his speech at the Wirth monument in Hof on 26.07.1998