start’19 – For Freedom, For Europe
Alfred Mevissen is a true activist when there is a need to arouse the general public to action in response to sociopolitical problems. Originally he studied to become a teacher, he then found his future career in the pharmaceuticals industry more or less by accident, after a job freeze for teaching staff. In 2003 he started working in the field of oncology which in turn also provided another stimulus for the direction his life work has taken. „At an oncology conference in Chicago I met a doctor who was enthusiastically explaining the therapeutic effects of sculpture for people who suffer from burnout to me. At the time I was searching for a unusual concept for a seminar for potential managers. At the end of the conversation we agreed that he would introduce me to the sculptor Herbert Leichtle from Allgäu. That was my introduction to three-dimensional art,“ explains Alfred Mevissen. From the very first meeting the two men took a liking to each other and soon they were jointly hosting the seminar EinStein – Führung ist relativ (EinStein - Management is Relative). That was my first contact with sculpture and art in general – I had caught the bug! Even now I am fascinated by sculpture and the fact that we create something of greater value than the original object by removing something from it. This is an absolute contradiction to our modern society.“
His first large-scale Art-Project Pillars of Freedom
From August 2016 to July 2017 Mevissen allowed himself to take a sabbatical – a longer absence from his regular work. During this period he initiated the art project Pillars of Freedom. By November 9, 2017, this had resulted in 112 sculptures, each with a minimum height of 2 meters, made from a wide variety of materials by 105 different artists and exhibited in 20 different countries around the world. „My motivation to complete this project was, on the one hand, my passion for sculpture and, on the other hand, a need to take an active stand for the preservation of the values of freedom. In a time where populists and autocrats are systematically trying to attack the rights for freedom that we fought to secure over the last 70 years, I thought it was important to take a stand.“ This resulted in 112 memorials for an active commitment in favor of a self-determined life in freedom. Because freedom, tolerance and respect are indispensable values for co-existing in peace with one another - especially in today’s digital age. Of these, 70 % are permanently accessible to the general population in public spaces. A corresponding map is shown on the website. Every memorial embodies an individual statement about how life of freedom could function within society as a whole. Virtually these sculptures were then consolidated into one giant-sized art work on the project’s website. Exactly a year later, on November 9, 2018, Mevissen published his book Ich bin die Freiheit? – I am the Freedom? as the final conclusion of the project. „Originally the project was planned to be much smaller, but it struck a nerve and was widely accepted by the artists“, according to Mevissen.
His New Art Project Art moves Europe
As a result of the fascinating ideas and sculptures that were created in the process of the Pillars of Freedom project, Mevissen was inspired to initiate another large-scale art project. This time the focus is on the social-political situation in Europe. „The current developments in Europe trouble me. Firstly an increasing tendency towards disillusionment with Europe is growing and, secondly, nationalistic tendencies are becoming more and more socially acceptable without anyone sufficiently considering the consequences of these populist trends. In a dialog, particularly with the younger generation, I hope to remind people of the achievements and values of the European idea and to invite people to actively participate in the creation of the future Europe. Naturally, this should be done on the basis of European values and not by regressing to those acceptable in the era before 1945.“ In order to achieve this he even founded an association of the same name. Furthermore, he also announced, „As of December 31, 2018 I am ending my activities as a professional in the pharmaceuticals industry. Henceforward I will be dedicating my time entirely to my passion - sculpture. In the future I plan to be exclusively active as a project artist and in this new chapter of my life, which will start on January 1, 2019, will totally focus on my new project Art moves Europe.“
Within the framework of start’19 the association Art moves Europe cordially invites you to their event at the Euregio Solarzentrum in Alsdorf on January 27, starting at 11 a.m. There renewable energy will be illuminated by a very different source - as a project for peace. Alfred Mevissen and Achim Ripperger, artist and founding member, from Frankfurt will introduce the association with sculptures and three-dimensional art objects. There will also be a book presentation of Ich bin Freiheit? – I am the freedom?. Valeska Peschke from Berlin, initiator of the Botschaft von Amikejo (News from Amikejo), will moderate a discussion panel on the topic of Europe, Democracy and open Society – Relic of the Past or Promise of the Future? as an introduction to her Esperanto Performance. Six other artists from the area will also be present at the event. Children in attendance will have the opportunity to actively form the Europe of their future – with an oversized puzzle of the association’s logo.
start’19 - sculpt the world with us
Euregio Solarzentrum GmbH
Sunday, January 27, 2019
starting at 11 a.m.
You're not in Germany on January 27? No problem, there's 20 other countries with more than 70 events for you to choose from! Find an event near you here.
Author: Claudia Thiel
Claudia Thiel is an art historian and likes to pose her questions to the subject area in a journalistic style.
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