A sculpture by Ernst Gustav Herter has stood on the foot of the waterfall in Victoria Park since 1896. Many vacationers have their images taken subsequent to it. You’ll be able to see a tall, muscular, bearded man. A lady with a fish tail has grow to be entangled in his fishing internet, which he’s apparently at the moment pulling out of the water. A “uncommon catch” – and that’s what the sculpture is known as.
Each characters look shocked and even frightened. The mermaid twists and pushes herself away from the fisherman’s grasp with one hand. She is bare, her vulva is roofed by some leaves. Is that this simply an surprising encounter between people and legendary creatures, a romantic scene? Or may it even be about violence?
The statue has been usually redesigned for a while. Then, for instance, the fisherman wears a poster round his neck that reads “Artwork or sexualized violence.” One other time an arrow pierces the fisherman’s brow. The mermaid holds the corresponding bow. With these devices it appears as if she is defending herself.
Is that this about violence?
Behind the actions is, amongst different issues, an initiative that… “Mermaids and merwomen*solidarity” calls. Why do they do this? “We predict that the sculpture aestheticizes sexual violence and presents it as one thing regular,” says one of many activists. In different phrases: The statue reveals a mermaid in a susceptible state of affairs and portrays her as one thing stunning.
Nonetheless, the state of affairs isn’t clear; the sculpture could be interpreted in numerous methods. On the time the murals was created, mermen with bare girls or mermaids had been a standard motif for sculptors. That is proven, for instance, in “Meeresgrund” (1907) on the carp pond in Treptower Park or in “The Little Mermaid” (1913) in Denmark, Copenhagen.
“It’s all the extra essential to touch upon the murals. So that folks query it,” say the activists. Eradicating the sculpture isn’t what the remodelers are enthusiastic about. However they need some sort of commentary and dialogue. The initiative obtained assist from the Inexperienced parliamentary group, which referred to as for a important contextualization of the sculpture. Nothing has occurred but.
The flip of the century was additionally a time when social position fashions had been totally different than at the moment. Girls had been neither allowed to resolve for themselves nor to take part in political life. The discourse additionally reveals that the interpretation of historic artistic endeavors can change over time. Typically the paintings itself attracts consideration to this within the type of a bow and arrow.