Press release, 11 October 2011
2-3000 people witnessed the drowning of Hans Christian Andersen
Thousands of citizens participated this weekend in a funeral protest march, the ending of which was the drowning of a sculpture worth 200,000 € was illegally drowned in the harbour. The artwork by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot depicted the famous storyteller Hans Christian Andersen.
Many of the assistants were dressed in black funeral clothes from the age of Andersen. The funeral procession with a brass band at the lead started at the Town Hall sq. Two stout horses pulled the heavy sculpture on a flower-decked carriage.
As the sculpture reached the harbour, it was hoisted up to the height of ten metres and a renowned Danish actress, Vigga Bro recited an adventurous speech depicting the reasons why Andersen was hanging up there. Then the sculpture was lowered and merged into the water, so that just the head was visible.
After the drowning the bystanders drank specially brewed funeral beer. Then they left the harbour leaving Hans Christian Andersen alone in water to the neck in the deserted harbour. There he will stay until a resurrection happening is launched on his birthday 2nd April 2012.
The spectacle was led by Jens Galschiot who had invited to the spectacular art happening. On the occasion he was dressed as an undertaker. His sculpture had been exhibited for six years at the Town Hall sq. It was one of the citizens’ most favoured sculptures and it was eagerly photographed.
The artist who is a resident of Odense says with a smile: “Generally I’m known as a sort of street-art artist as I’m placing my sculptures in the public space, but this event could rather be dubbed as water-art. Who knows, maybe a new art trend has been born….”
The sculpture was originally contrived as a part of big fountain depicting all Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales, but the artist has had to suspend the project, because the municipality after six years still has not managed to find a central site for the Storyteller’s Fountain, although more than one million Euro has been available for the creation of the fountain.
“I find the support really amazing. Undoubtedly we have to do with one of the biggest funeral processions ever seen in Denmark. Thousands of people have crowded to join my expression of profound disappointment with the municipality’s handling of the process. This is a testimony that art still has a powerful potential”, says Jens Galschiot and continues: “En envisage the happening being an annually recurring event where we hoist Hans Christian out of the water to be the focal point of a resurrection procession with samba dancers and champagne. The sculpture will return to its site at the Town Hall sq. for a week, and then it will be drowned again in harbour basin.
Only one of the city councillors chose to join the event. “I think they have been a bit disconcerted that I really could fancy plunging such an expensive sculpture into the harbour, in addition a presentation of the city’s most renowned celebrities. But I hope that the amazing attendance will be an admonition to the politicians.
“For sure, I am aware that it is illegal throwing things into the harbour. But I expect to be forgiven, as the harbour of Odense by this event has got a new tourist attraction”, Jens Galschiot concludes.
The director of the harbour, Mr Carsten Aa declares:
“I find the happening humoristic, but anyway I insist that we find a reasonable solution to the issue. Hence, already this week I’ll take contact to the City Council as well as Jens Galschiot, so that we can find a better and more lasting solution together.”
The director emphasizes that he will not attempt to get the newcomer out of the precincts.
“Many others have artworks in the water, so why shouldn’t it be viable here. We have the Sea Horse in the Odense River. In addition, I really find it enjoyable, so I would be happy if it could remain here”, the director concludes.
The event of drowning the storyteller has found comprehensive coverage in the world’s media. An article in The Guardian has had overwhelming repercussion.
For more information:
Press release of 11th October about the H.C.A happening: in English – in Danish
From Denmark´s National Radio 9 Oct. 2-3000 to the funeral
Professional TV documentation available, contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact to the City Council of Odense: +45 6613 1372
Interview with Jens Galschiot about the happening
Invitation to the funeral
Info and free photos: http://www.aidoh.dk/HCA2011
General info about Jens Galschiot: http://www.aidoh.dk/