Der Wettbewerb
The Competition
Bad Berleburg/Schmallenberg, Germany 2002 - 2004
Two small towns in a remote rural area close to the former East German border, divided for centuries by the Rothhaargebirge mountain chain, as well as by religion, politics and history, decided to link both communities by a mountain trail. The project entitled The Forest Sculpture Trail, was to receive six public art works along the sixteen kilometres separating the two towns.

The commission for Jochen Gerz started and ended the trail with a work in each place. Forty thousand letters of invitation were sent from both Mayors to the inhabitants of Bad Berleburg and Schmallenberg explaining The Competition.

Residents from both towns were asked to send a letter to the opposite town hall, in which they explained why they chose to live where they live and described what is worthy of interest in their hometown. Each letter from both towns was inscribed on a metal plaque and installed outside of the house of a participant in the other town. All the letters from one town were installed in the other town and vice versa. The rules of this competition made it impossible for either town to win or lose. In both towns the same number of contributions were installed.

Object: 144 metal signposts (h = 2,20m, size 44 x 60 cm), white writing on red background.
In collaboration with secondary schools of Bad Berleburg and Schmallenberg.

- Der Wettbewerb, Wienand Verlag, Cologne 2004 (German)

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R. Schöllmann