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Studio

2006 - Sugar Eagle, Gießen by Frankfurt, Germany

September 07th, 2006 • Permanent Link

In mid-May 2006, Gerhard received an unusual request: Andrea Knobloch, an artist in Düsseldorf, Germany, contacted him saying she needed a Pastry Chef to create a giant eagle out of sugar for an exhibition she was planning. Pastry Chefs she had contacted in Germany and Switzerland claimed it couldn’t be done. Gerhard’s extensive experience in creating sugar sculptures gave him a clear advantage, and he was confident that he could find a solution to this challenge of gravity…

The project was to rekindle an ongoing political debate in Gießen near Frankfurt. She needed a “fallen” eagle, two meters (6.5 ft.) high, made of sugar, a political statement hoping to “sweeten” the discussion about a war memorial across the street from the Gießen’s Neuer Kunstverein (“New Art Club”).

Gerhard was flown on short notice to Frankfurt, where he worked non-stop to create the sugar sculpture, a static marvel. The sculpture consisted of 80 kg. (ca. 175 lbs.) of sugar, 1 kg. (2,2 lbs.) of gelatin, and 55 hours of precision sculpting work. The time constraints of the project drove Gerhard to physical limits, and the work was finished just in time for the exhibit’s opening. The finished eagle was so large that Markus Lepper, head of the Kunstverein, had to break its wings to remove it from the gallery after the exhibit was over.

Standing on its head in the exhibition room, the eagle was symbolic of the fallen war memorial, its claws in the air. However, the luminous white of the sugar created an air of innocence and, to the surprise of all, washed the slate clean for a new dialog about the memorial. The “sweet” treatment of the highly charged political topic was received by the press, politicians and citizens of the city with joviality and gratitude.