14 November 2011

Crouching Tiger and Turtle – The Roller Coaster Walkway

It has taken eight weeks of intensive assembly work but the newest feature of the German landscape has been unveiled today. The city of Duisburg is now home to Crouching Tiger and Turtle, which could easily be described as a roller coaster without a roller coaster!

It stands about eleven meters in height and is part of the city’s Capital of Culture project. Crouching Tiger and Turtle, Magic Mountain (to give it its full name) is a work by sculptors Ulrich Genth and Heike Mutter. Visitors are encouraged to follow the twists and turns of the roller coaster and enjoy the surrounding Ruhr landscape from slightly different perspectives than usual!

The giant sculpture, situated in the Heinrich Hildebrand-heights is made from steel and zinc which establishes a link between itself and the park in which it is situated which once produced zinc before it was turned in to a recreational space. The city of Duisburg is also home to Krupp Mannesmann, a major steel manufacturing company which gives the massive piece of artwork another local connection.

Yet why the name? According to one of the sculptors, Heike Mutter, the roller coaster represents acceleration and the high speed of a tiger but the sightseer has to investigate it step by step like a turtle.

You may well be wondering about the fantastic gymnastic capabilities of the locals of Duisburg. Although from a distance it looks as if the whole sculpture is accessible to pedestrians the loops cannot be walked upon. Health and safety regulations may disappoint some here but one can only imagine the challenging temptation this may present to some of the more athletic young people of the city!

Apart from being about the only sculpture that we know of about which under tens will become excited, T&T also offers adults an opportunity to ponder. One of the first questions, of course, will be was it worth it? At 1.7m euros (2.3m USD) it did not come cheap.  Yet something which offers such immense fun while also being a serious example of landscape art – could you even ask the question?