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Giant water nymph causes a stir in Hamburg

The Local · 6 Aug 2011, 11:42

Published: 06 Aug 2011 11:42 GMT+02:00

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The blonde head and two knees poking out of the water in Hamburg's Binnenalster have provoked mixed reactions so far.

Some spectators have described it as a "superfluous spectacle," while others think it carries an environmental message. "Like that blonde, we should one day be able to swim in the Binnenalster again," commented one spectator.

The final installation was delayed for two days with technical problems that threatened to sink the project, but now the figure is expected to continue her bath for at least another week.

The work is the brainchild of Oliver Voss, an artist and former chairman of an advertising agency. His "Bather," as the sculpture is entitled, had to jump through a number of bureaucratic hoops before it could be installed, but now he's proud of the finished product.

"I wanted to give something back to the city that gave me so much," Voss said. The figure, whose knees rule it out from being technically classified as a mermaid, is made of styrofoam and steel and stabilized with sandbags and buoys.

"The giant nymph is not meant to provoke," added Voss. "It's just to encourage you to experience the Binnenalster in a new way." He also said that it is meant to promote Hamburg as a centre for creative industries.

Story continues below…

The department for urban development and environment in Hamburg supported the project, but the director of the local authority Markus Schreiber held reservations until the end. But since the lake is technically out of his jurisdiction, his authority was superseded.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:43 August 6, 2011 by dcgi
Not really a Mermaid is it; she's clearly got two legs..
13:55 August 6, 2011 by Shirazz
Looks like she's having a baby in the water.....if they would just build and float a new born sculpture not far from her .... then it will two birds with one stone....art and encouragement from the government for Germans to make more babies....
15:06 August 6, 2011 by petenick
"She" looks like a guy in drag! lol.
15:10 August 6, 2011 by jbaker
It looks like the Statue of Liberty in her early years
15:21 August 6, 2011 by Shirazz

Now that you mentioned it, her knees are a bit rough for a woman....
18:13 August 6, 2011 by yourholiness
I think its clever and funny and good for a laugh. A week or two is fine. A month is probably past its sell-by date.
19:27 August 6, 2011 by vonSchwerin
Yeah, nothing says "environmental message" like a few tonnes of painted styrofoam.
01:04 August 7, 2011 by strahlungsamt
I would like to say what I think of this piece of "art" but about 90% of the words won't pass The Local's censorship policy.
02:20 August 7, 2011 by Lisa Rusbridge
Gosh, that's not nice to look at -- not at all. At least it's only a temporary installation.
11:00 August 7, 2011 by yourholiness
The funny thing is that the city of Hamburg is always crying about money but yet it manages to find room in their budget for the Elbephilharmonie and jokes like this.
04:47 August 9, 2011 by parografik
What a lovely drag nymph.
07:55 August 10, 2011 by Shirazz
This news also spread to Asian TV channels, and the commentators said it's ...scary....and the woman in the water doesn't even seem to be enjoying it one bit.
18:14 August 10, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Honey, there's a woman who has been giving me the eye since we got here...
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