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Mural By Hendrik Beikirch

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Mural By Hendrik Beikirch
Mural By Hendrik Beikirch

Video: Mural By Hendrik Beikirch

Video: Mural By Hendrik Beikirch
Video: Old Man Mural by Hendrik Beikirch (Germany) 2023, December

As part of the art project Stadt. Wand. Kunst. the portrait of a Siberian woman was created on a facade.

An old lady is currently drawing everyone's attention in Mannheim. “Vera” has been looking into the distance from a high-rise in Brandenburger Straße since late summer 2016. Anyone driving into the city from the north-east will inevitably notice the impressive portrait. The huge mural stretches over 13 floors and is 43 meters high. But not only the sheer size of the Murals is impressive, but also the expressiveness of a face that is clearly marked by life.

Behind the work is artist Hendrik Beikirch, who has made a name for himself with his larger-than-life portraits, which can be found worldwide. He wants to show faces that tell stories and thus create a counterpart to the anonymous, urban crowd: “Somehow these faces are drawn, furrowed and often also tired. But with an inherent pride, with confidence,”he says. "My intention was to create a portrait that - actually unknown - seems familiar to you."

The portrait of "Vera" was drawn by Beikirch on a trip through Siberia. As part of the Stadt. Wand. Kunst project, which wants to turn the city into a public gallery, he now brought it to Mannheim. The greatest attraction for him was to develop a design that harmonized with the special architecture of the building. The facade of the skyscraper is divided by vertical rows of balconies: “Placing a portrait in such a way that it worked despite being divided into three sections was the main difficulty,” says the artist - and emphasizes that a painting of this size could only be realized as a team.

Allow: Vera! The impressive portrait of an old lady by artist Hendrik Beikirch on a residential building in Mannheim extends over 13 floors.

More than 60 participants contributed to the mammoth project, which took over half a year to prepare and a month to implement. The coordination of all participants was the responsibility of project manager Sebastian Bader from the cultural center Alte Feuerwache in Mannheim, which initiated Stadt. Wand. Kunst. He had his hands full with the project: "A mural in this dimension alone involves a personal effort that we didn't have in previous work," he says. "But for that we now not only have a real graffiti rock in Mannheim, but to our knowledge we also have the largest mural in Germany."

Before the artist could get started on the building, however, some preliminary work had to be done on the building with its 900 square meters of sheet metal facade and 600 square meters of concrete base. The responsible master painter Sebastian Krippl turned to Caparol before starting work. "Even if there are proven installation recommendations, each substrate has to be assessed individually," says master painter and painter Jan Chong-Su Leonhardt. He carried out an underground assessment for the project and made a recommendation based on this.

At the beginning of the work, Krippl first cleaned the sheet metal facade and roughened the surface together with some employees. As an aqueous primer, he applied Capacryl primer - "a stable base for further coatings, with which we have had good experiences both inside and out for years," explains Krippl. This was followed by an intermediate and final coating with Caparol Amphibolin, which the team around the painter applied partly manually and partly using a low-fog spray process. Amphibolin is particularly durable on substrates such as the sheet metal facade. The product has been tried and tested for many years and has proven itself in a wide range of application scenarios - for example in the Olympic Stadium in Beijing.

The concrete surfaces were primed with CapaGrund Universal and also with intermediate and final coating with amphiboline. In total, around 120 liters of primer for priming the sheet metal facade and 550 liters of amphiboline for the double coating of the facade and the work of the artist were used in the project.

Detailed view of one eye: The residential building is divided into three sections. Placing the portrait in such a way that it works in its entirety was one of the greatest challenges for the artist.

The clean area did not pose any major challenges for the master painter and his colleagues - but the height of the building did: the lower two thirds of the mighty apartment block were worked out by 30-meter-high elevators. The upper third of the building, on the other hand, was taken care of by industrial climbers who abseiled from the roof of the house - Krippl also coordinated this work. Midsummer temperatures of around 35 degrees also caused the fabricators to sweat, he recalls: “Fortunately, the wall painting is on the north-facing facade, so that we did not have to work in the blazing sun. Despite the heat, we had no problems with approaches with amphibolin.”

Now it was the turn of artist Hendrik Beikirch. He had first simulated on the computer how the sketch would look on the building. And then transferred them - partly with a spray can, partly with a paint roller and amphiboline - to the facade by hand and in a thousand times magnification. Caparol supported him in the selection of the right color: "The aim was to find an amphiboline clay that came as close as possible to the black from the spray cans used," explains Leonhardt. "To achieve this, we tried out different recipes and carried out samples."

The artist at work: Beikirch brought up the haunting portrait partly with a spray can, partly with a paint roller and Caparol amphiboline.

Convinced of the art project and proud of it

Work on the building did not go unnoticed. The monochrome mural led to many discussions among residents and neighbors from the neighborhood. From "to fear" to "a masterpiece" (https://www.morgenweb.de/mannheim/mannheim-stadt/rekordverdachtiges-gemalde-1.2967850) all opinions were represented. The building is part of the GBG Mannheim housing association. She is involved in the Stadt. Wand. Kunst project because she not only wants to offer space for living, but also wants to improve the quality of life in Mannheim, explains Christian Franke, GBG's Head of Corporate Communication.

“Many residents are convinced of the art project and are proud that we were able to implement it here in Mannheim. However, we are particularly pleased that it was precisely the people who were not so open to the work of art that arranged themselves with the mural,”he sums up. “It has to do with the fact that they saw on-site how hard the over 60 participants worked to create the monumental work. The artist was always ready to do this when asked. That was very well received."

Text: Katharina Mandlinger / Photos: Alexander Krziwanie

Beikirch received support from a team led by master painter Sebastian Krippl, who cleaned the surface and coated the facade twice with amphiboline. Industrial climbers were abseiling from above, and a lifting platform was used from below.

Only for those with a head for heights: the industrial climbers painted at a height of up to 43 meters.

A work is created: The mural is part of the “Stadt. Wand. Kunst” project, which the city wants to transform into a public gallery.