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Sculpture on the move: Interview with Julia Geiger about the “Gerundetes Blau”

The Gasteig landmark is now in its new location at HP8. Julia Geiger is its creator Rupprecht Geiger’s granddaughter and manages the Geiger Archive in Munich-Solln. In our interview, she tells us why the move is so spectacular and what significance the round oval had for its creator.

Outdoor area, daytime, view from the roof of Hall X onto "Platz am Kulturkraftwerk", the \"Rounded Blue\" hangs from the crane in front of Hall E.
Rupprecht Geiger’s sculpture being installed in its new home on the HP8 site. Copyright: Benedikt Feiten/Gasteig

As an art historian and director of the of the Geiger Archive, you are always working with Rupprecht Geiger’s creations. Do you have a special connection to the Gerundetes Blau sculpture in front of the Gasteig in Haidhausen?

To me it’s a Munich landmark. In its prominent location in a public space in front of the Gasteig, people notice the sculpture a lot more than many of my grandfather’s other artworks. I live in the city centre, have often been to concerts and events at the Gasteig myself and always notice how the blue oval is part of the district. And even when we give guided tours of the archive in Solln, the sculpture is often mentioned – it’s the one that most people recognise because it sticks in their minds. They often say: “Oh, the tin of Nivea [hand cream], that’s from Rupprecht Geiger?!”


“Tin of Nivea” – is that a term of endearment?

(laughs) I think “nickname” sums it up best. Everyone laughs and smiles when you say it like that. I don’t see it as derogatory; not at all. It’s more a sign that the sculpture is part of life for people in Munich. And that’s a good thing, right?

Outside, at night, a large, blue work of art stands on a brick wall. A man uses a welding torch to separate it from the plinth. Sparks fly.
2023: The Gerundetes Blau is carefully removed from its pedestal for its move to Sendling. Copyright: Kathrin Metzner/Gasteig
The Rounded Blue by Rupprecht Geiger is erected in front of the Haidhauser Gasteig.
1987: The Gerundetes Blau being installed at the Gasteig in Haidhausen, supervised by the artist himself (bottom right in the picture). Copyright: Archiv Geiger

How important was this commission from the City of Munich for Rupprecht Geiger in the mid-1980s?

Over the decades, he has created plenty of art in Munich’s public spaces. But the Gasteig was particularly important to him. Partly, that was due to the location: everyone drives or walks along Rosenheimer Straße at some point. And everyone sees the sculpture. It’s hard to miss. But it was also the place itself: Everyone who visits the Gasteig arts centre is confronted with the Gerundetes Blau. He was well aware of that.


Is that why he chose this ultramarine blue colour, to create an eye-catcher?

This blue is actually not typical for him; he is better known as a magician of the colour red. But here, he wanted to achieve a strong colour contrast – the blue disc against the reddish brick background.

Gasteig Managing Director Stephanie Jenke (right) with Julia Geiger, granddaughter of Rupprecht Geiger, in front of the artwork.
The artist’s granddaughter Julia Geiger (left) with Gasteig Managing Director Stephanie Jenke in front of the old new Gasteig landmark. Copyright: Benedikt Feiten/Gasteig

And the oval shape – also a contrast to the rather angular Gasteig building?

Certainly. But above all, this oval corresponds perfectly to his stylistic idiom. He condensed his works into archetypal shapes in order to create more space for the colour. The subject of his art is absolute colour, and in order to reproduce the colour to best effect, he chose these geometric shapes that do not evoke any associations. That’s typical of his artistic work. The oval shape is also in dialogue with the stainless steel stele “Durchdringung” by Alf Lechner that also stands in front of the Gasteig building. Geiger and Lechner conceived the interplay between the two sculptures together.

The artwork Rounded Blue by Rupprecht Geiger is lifted onto the balustrade in front of Hall X by a crane.
Copyright: Benedikt Feiten/Gasteig
View of the HP8 site with the two artworks Gerundestes Blau by Rupprecht Geiger and Torkonstruktion by Johannes Leismüller.
Two works of art in dialogue: Johannes Leismüller’s “Torkonstruktion” and Rupprecht Geiger’s “Gerundetes Blau”. Copyright: Benedikt Feiten/Gasteig

Alf Lechner’s stele will remain in Haidhausen as it’s far enough away from the planned construction site.  But there will also be another work of art near the “tin of Nivea” in Sendling: Johannes Leismüller’s “Torkonstruktion” is located right next to the Mittlerer Ring road. Contrast or competition?

I think it fits perfectly: Torkonstruktion was also created in the 1980s and also has a very much geometric shape. This again creates new perspectives, new lines of sight towards and for both of the sculptures.


So the Gerundetes Blau has clearly gained from its move?

Definitely. It’s a great opportunity to see the sculpture in a different location, a completely new context. But the Gasteig HP8 will also benefit: Whenever you went to the Gasteig, you always had this disc as a landmark, a point of orientation. This work has always been associated with the Gasteig. And now it’ll be the same with the Gasteig HP8 and the Isarphilharmonie: The “rounded blue” will become an eye-catcher that draws attention to the Gasteig HP8 and will become associated with the Isarphilharmonie. Kind of a reload. And who knows how long the Gasteig HP8 and its sculpture will remain there …

In front of the staircase to the Gasteig in Haidhausen is the stainless steel stele by artist Alf Lechner, while at the top of the Celibidache Forum you can see part of the \"Rounded Blue\" behind trees.
Stainless steel stele by Alf Lechner in front of the Gasteig in Haidhausen. Copyright: Gasteig/C. Huebner

Gasteig landmark on the move