Art in the harbour
Kick-off of the street art series Muralu, in October 2018.
A building of the Harbour Authority, which houses a branch of the Ludwigshafen police, has been given a new makeover by street artist Augustine Kofie from Los Angeles!
Translation of the Newspaper article
Brand new and rocked out
For seven days and always from early morning until nightfall, Augustine Kofie stood on the cherry picker and turned a house façade in slightly scruffy yellow into a great work of geometric shapes, interlocking circles, numbers and letters in various shades of orange and purple. In the end, he had created a 472.6 square metre surface. It is the American artist's first permanent mural in Germany and one of his largest works. The 45-year-old spoke of a "fantastic experience" when his finished work of art on the corner of Lagerhausstraße and Schwanthaler Allee was presented yesterday.
The design of the façade at Luitpoldhafen is to be followed by many more in the coming months and years. Ten are currently planned. There is no shortage of available space, said René Zechlin, director of the Wilhelm Hack Museum. Next, the back of the Sparkasse building facing the Rhein-Galerie is to be embellished, if it works out, by two Greek artists. Not only internationally known but also street artists from the region are to design the façades. The project, called "Muralu" after the term for contemporary murals, is to culminate in an exhibition on the significance of the street in the context of artistic developments in 2020. Graffiti is to be one aspect of this. "We didn't just want to illustrate this with photos in the museum, but to realise something in advance," Zechlin said. Augustine Kofie hopes to come to Ludwigshafen again for the exhibition opening - a city he described as very inspiring. It was precisely the fact that the project is the responsibility of an official institution that is a municipal museum that convinced him to accept the commission. This had not always been the case with his previous permanent wall designs in Paris, Boston, Marrakech and London.
For the design of the building, Kofie had already prepared drafts at home in Los Angeles in months of preparatory work, which were then heavily modified on site. The fact that it looks brand new in many places and in others as if it has been exposed to wind and weather for years - that is purely intentional. It is "exactly this mixture that I like", Kofie said about his aesthetics. And compared the work to a city in which old and new cars drive around. Kofie only found out after his arrival in Ludwigshafen that the police reside in the building between Depot Lu and Luitpoldhafen, which belongs to the port companies, with a few offices. And took note of it with enthusiasm. If you look at the history of graffiti, which began in the 1980s and often took place illegally, it's great, said the Californian.
He himself, who in his youth sometimes incurred the displeasure of police officers because of extensive skateboarding ("all harmless"), has been part of the street art scene in West Los Angeles since the mid-1990s. In his works, he repeatedly refers not only to street culture but also to art history. His abstract work is a perfect fit for the Wilhelm Hack Museum, Zechlin said. The "Muralu" project, however, wants to give space to different styles and aesthetic approaches. For Cornelia Reifenberg (CDU), head of the department of culture, the graffiti project also means that the museum is opening up further into the city - as it has done for years with the Hackgarten. These are "extremely positive developments". And Eberhard Weber, the vice-president of the Rhine-Palatinate police headquarters, was pleased about the opportunity to take a different look at the police "than we are usually used to". The police certainly have a great affinity with art.