Saturday, 13 December 2014

Live! Survive!

Gabriele von Lutzau’s very touching and thought-provoking sculptures, which are intimately related to her own life experience, show viewers that “life is not a long, calm river”.

Faithfull to one of the objectives of “Touching Art”, that of featuring Art produced within projects of humanitarian nature, we are introducing to you today the creations of an angel. Once a flight attendant for Lufthansa, Gabriele von Lutzau (born Dillmann) became known to this day as the “Angel of Mogadishu” for her bravery and the relentless support given to the victims of flight 181 – where she was serving – as it was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists in 1977.

Her story of courage, hope and indefatigable resilience during the long captivity in providing strength to other hostages was the inspiration for two films made on the hijacking – “The Dead Pool” (1977) and “Mogadishu (2008). Awarded with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for the role played during the notorious affair, Gabriele von Lutzau later got married to her fiancé, Lufthansa pilot Rudiger von Lutzau, who piloted the plane carrying the commandos of the rescue force which ultimately liberated all the hostages, including herself.

Deeply affected by this event, Gabriele von Lutzau left Lufthansa to attend the Art School at the University of Strasbourg and has since dedicated her time to the creation of artworks, which strongly convey not only her previous life experience, but also her message: “Live! Survive!”

Having dedicated her talent to sculpture, her tools are predominantly the chainsaw and the flamethrower, her medium mainly beechwood and her creations, which can rise up to three meters, are, quite fittingly, “guardian figures”.  In fact, even the names of her different series of sculptures evoke both her life experience and her message: “Ikarus”, “Life signs”, “Featherings”, “Sweet Hearts”.

Gabriele von Lutzau’s sculptures strongly emphasize her motto through the kind of wood she uses, that of “discarded – unwanted, sometimes grown under hard conditions – gnarled and twisted, and finally felled” trees. On the other hand, she also heralds her call for survival by crafting her art works on thuja wood, since this kind of tree, a species of the family of coniferous trees which is commonly known as arborvitae, Latin for the “tree of life”, perfectly embodies her experience.

Von Lutzau’s extremely moving and often dramatic sculptures can actually be deeply thought-provoking, especially if viewers are aware of the artist’s background. We, therefore, invite you to gaze at the photographs and to let yourselves be touched by all they “say”, while also bearing in mind Gabriele von Lutzau’s words when she states “life is not a long, calm river”.

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