Wittgenstein-Sauerland Wood Sculpture Path

The location and general objectives 

The Wittgenstein-Sauerland Wood Sculpture Path, which crosses the Rothaarsteig, is intended to make an independent statement documenting both traditional links and the time-related expressiveness of man today, and which integrates these characteristics in a discreet yet clear manner into the naturalness of the hiking trail. On the one hand, this has created an attractive addition and extension to the Rothaarsteig, and on the other hand it has resulted in the individualisation of a hiking path, whose importance is increased much beyond the norm. The hiking path links two places with such different civic architecture as Bad Berleburg, with its major castle, and Schmallenberg, with its Kloster Grafschaft abbey of equal historical importance. Thanks to the accentuation with artistic monuments, installations, and sculptures, as well as the related activities and campaigns, the path has been given the character of a cultural hiking route between different worlds. The task has been to create an atmosphere which fully matches up to that of the old hiking path, through a sensitive and careful integration of the works of art. Three premises therefore had to be observed which were intended to characterise the sculptural hiking path:

  • The secrecy and uniqueness of nature not only had to be maintained, they also had to be emphasised.
  • The history of the cultural landscape and of man must reflect one another.
  • The searching walker must find leisure, a resting place, and a multiplicity of thought.

What are the possibilities for the art of today to meet these challenges? Can art itself be given different points of emphasis through the creation of such a hiking path? The art of today often seems to have placed itself on a higher level than the interested layperson, and to be accessible only to a small élite. Some people certainly fear that this could also be evident in the case of the hiking path being conceived here. But it must also be stated here that serious art of high quality has in every age always required the observer to think his way into it, and to get to grips with it. The multiplicity of approaches of today's art - comparable to the plurality of our world - however often makes it difficult to gain one's own access. It is therefore also necessary here to consider didactic possibilities for explaining the works of art to the hiker. But beyond this necessity, which is yet to be considered, contemporary art has sufficient power of expression to find its way out of this for itself, and to share it.

  • The multiple layers of today's art movements create an outstanding prerequisite for the concept of the cultural hiking path. From ecological art to Land Art, from socially integrative approaches to tactile sculpture, and with light and acoustic works of art, there is a varied and sensorially oriented spectrum of possibilities which vividly fulfil the premises formulated above in an experience-intensive manner.
  • The way that nature appears today in Central Europe is never of a prehistoric origin, but is always nature formed by man, and is thus to be defined as part of human culture. Art created by man on the other hand forms the free untrammelled access of the human spirit to its environment through the formative forces of its various sensorial channels. To connect and harmonise both sides of human cultural expression means striving for an integrative approach to making human cultural capability visible.

  • Placing art in nature in this way frees it from everything that is imposed and "arty", and gives it a unique exhibition space which takes it back to its origins. In this way, the works of art will not lead to a forceful violation of nature, but on the contrary to an intensive dialogue.

  • For the hiker or walker, the encounter with the works of art integrated in this way creates a quite unique moment of associative and free examination: art as an integrated part of nature, as part of a holistic experience which can lead to completely new levels of perception and understanding. The extension of the experiences of the hiker beyond the observation of nature and the encounter with the rural and crafts cultures to a thought and sense-oriented, time-related form of expression provides him with a different, yet linked view of the world.

Dr. Uwe Rüth, Marl (curator)

You can download the complete artistic concept here!

Download of the concept