Thursday, September 8, 2016

Summit "crescent" stirs up hikers

A crescent instead of a summit cross is currently adorning the summit of the “Freiheit” in Switzerland’s Alpstein mountains. Mountaineers and the authorities are outraged. Translation of an article in the Swiss free newspaper © 20 Minuten, 8 September 2016 edition.

"Ecch!" or "Is that the Muslim version of a summit cross, or is it some kind of art installation?” hikers are asking on the website They are not alone in their concerns. "This is the height of impudence. A complete scandal," says a mountain cafe owner to the FM1Today radio station. The cause of all this excitement is the two and a half meters high luminous crescent that currently stands atop the Freiheit peak (2140m) in the Alpstein range.

The person responsible is Christian Meier (38), a native of the Appenzell region who now lives in Shanghai. He had long wanted to do something in-your-face, something that would polarise people, the artist told FM1Today. "Whenever I come back to Switzerland, I go hiking and see all these absurd summit crosses – so I had to do something," says the self-confessed atheist.

Mountain rescue teams might be irked

The reactions to Meier’s work have been divided. The artist says he’s heard comments ranging from "absolutely presumptuous" to "that's pleasantly thought-provoking". But the feedback has been largely positive from people who have seen the two-and-a-half-metre-high crescent with their own eyes. That’s because, according to Meier, "There’s an impressive contrast between nature and art."

The installation hasn’t met with much appreciation from the authorities in Appenzell. The police fear that the illuminated crescent could confuse mountain rescue teams at night, or that curious spectators could be lured off the path. In fact, the sculpture is sited in a place that only experienced climbers should attempt to reach.

A week to remove it

For Landamman Roland Inauen, the top cantonal official of Appenzell Innerrhoden, the matter is clear: "We will not tolerate such actions," he says. According FM1Today, the local authorities have spoken with the artist and given him a week to remove the crescent.

Meier does not know where the sculpture could be relocated. But, he says, "There has already been an offer from the Appenzell region.” Meanwhile, he’s not planning a repeat performance. "I wanted to provoke people, and I’ve done just that"

Read the original German version of this article

No comments:

Post a Comment