The ceramic reliefs at the Kongresszentrum stop are astonishing in their colorfulness: just before the southern exit of the subway tunnel, both pictures are to be understood as a reference to the surroundings of Karlsruhe and as a homage by Markus Lüpertz to the Zeller Keramik Manufaktur, where the artist had his “Black Forest studio” for the duration of the production of the ceramics. On view are Black Forest farms nestled against green hills, in front of them, just visible, a clear stream. Lüpertz unceremoniously relocates two stories from Greek mythology to the Black Forest: the rather unknown one of Phrixos and Helle as the starting point of the story of the Golden Fleece and that of Icarus and Daedalus (east side).
Phrixos and Helle are twins. At the instigation of his stepmother, who hates him, Phrixus shall be sacrificed after a bad harvest caused by her. Alas, before he could be killed for it, a flying ram is saving the siblings. Over the Hellespont (today’s strait of the Dardanelles) – which is where he gets his name from – Helle loses her footing, falls into the water and cannot be rescued, while Phrixos manages to escape and then sacrifices the ram to Zeus and hangs its hide, the Golden Fleece, in a grove dedicated to Ares, the god of war.
The title of this ceramic refers to the Mesopotamian creator deity Aruru, who in the Gilgamesh epic is described as the creator of Enkidu, the warrior comrade and friend of Uruk (who is said to be the founder of the city named after him), whom she formed from a lump of clay. Through the title, Lüpertz establishes a connection with the previous stop Ettlinger Tor and the ceramic titled “The Wall of Uruk”.
Text & translation: © Chris Gerbing, 2023
For a first orientation, you will find here an overview of the 365-day-”Genesis” gallery, which can be reached by underground almost 24 hours a day.