Certain natural events – however seemingly insignificant – achieve so perfectly a higher symbolic meaning that it is hard not to see in them a divine message. Such is the case with the only equestrian statue erected to honour former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which yesterday collapsed spontaneously under its own weight.
The eccentric tribute was unveiled on October 8th 2021 to commemorate Merkel’s chancellorship on the grounds of the Tempel Museum in Etsdorf, by “communications designer” and artist Wilhelm Koch.
Koch founded the Tempel Museum in 2010 in a defunct schoolbuilding as an exhibit space and a dubious monument to democracy and the ‘European idea’, whatever that is.
In a Spiegel interview from 2021, Koch characterised the monument both as “ironic” and as a “personal tribute” to the former chancellor. Its unveiling supplemented an exhibit on equestrian statues. The purpose was to provide oblique commentary on the fact that such representations have fallen out of favour in the liberal West, where they seem particularly unsuited to the doughy, dingy, bureaucratised politicians who plague us, and of whom Merkel is especially paradigmatic. He denied the sculpture a pedestal, because Merkel is too “modest” for such a thing. He also dispensed with a saddle and reins, explaining that Merkel “doesn’t need” such accoutrements to ride a horse and that he “didn’t want to construct a caricature”. He placed her on an American Quarter Horse, fantasising that it might have been “a gift from Donald Trump”.