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'The only work of art to survive the World Trade Center Terrorist Attack'
The extraordinary story of a sculpture that became a monument.
A Film by Percy Adlon
I still hear his voice in my ear: “Sie schaut raus! (It’s peaking out!).” It was a few days after 9/11. My friend, the then 77 year old sculptor Fritz Koenig, is calling from Germany. “It’s peaking out of the rubble. It’s not destroyed. I saw it on TV. It’s a miracle.”
“Let’s meet there,” I said, “come to New York. You need to see it with your own eyes.” “No, yes, maybe, even if it’s only a last goodbye, he said.” We met in New York. I had my camera with me.
The only work of art in or around the World Trade Center that miraculously survived the inferno of September 11, 2001, is the monumental fountain sculpture “The Sphere”. Created and built by the German sculptor Fritz Koenig. It had been in the center of the World Trade Center Plaza for three decades. Millions of people had met in it’s shadow, towering over a cool table of water.
Koenig, born in 1924 in Würzburg, Germany, is one of the most important and prominent German sculptors after world war II. His work was shown in exhibitions all over the world. He calls “The Sphere” his biggest child. It is 25 feet high, cast in 52 bronze segments, put together in Bremen, and shipped as a whole to Lower Manhattan. It was commissioned by the Port Authority in the late sixties. Originally, Henry Moore was supposed to create the fountain. But the twin towers’ architect Minoru Yamasaki, who had seen Koenig’s work at the Staempfli Gallery in Manhattan, decided for the German sculptor. “I was in my mid forties at that time” says Koenig , “ not too young and not too old to tackle the enormous endeavor.”
The German Sculptor Fritz Koenig in Ground Zero
A Film by Percy Adlon
Der deutsche Bildhauer Fitz Koenig
im Trümmerfeld von Ground Zero
Ein Film von Percy Adlon
Schnitt / edited by Jochen Künstler & Percy Adlon
Produzent / produced by Eleonore Adlon
Redaktion / TV producer (Bayerischer Rundfunk) Sabine Scharnagl
Kamera, Buch, Regie / filmed, written and directed by Percy Adlon
Shot on DV in October/November 2001 and March 2002 in New York and in Ganslberg, Germany
Running Time 58 minutes
© Leora Films, Inc. 2001