Artist couple Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely’s Lifesaver dominates the Duisburger Brunnenmeile, a sculpture path in the city center. The path was built based on an idea from Braunschweig architect Hartmut Rüdiger and was completed in 1993 with fountains by the artists Alt, Werthmann, Hegewald, Saint Phalle/Tinguely, Virnich, and Marjanov. It runs along the Königstraße pedestrian zone.
Much like the world famous Stravinsky Fountain in front of the Pompidou Center in Paris, Lifesaver is a collaborative effort between both artists. Jean Tinguely created the moveable pedestal structure out of various pieces of scrap metal. In terms of form and color, the rotating base contrasts the massive polyester figure on top of it, which is vividly painted in the typical style of Niki de Saint Phalle’s Nanas.
The figure depicts a bird-creature with outspread wings that spray arching streams of water. A female figure clings to the body of the mythical creature. The fantastical bird is portrayed here as a majestic lifesaver with the ability to lift humanity above the purely mechanistic worldview of consumption and every day life.
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Duisburg, Königstraße, at Düsseldorfer Straße