Horst Antes, Head 73, 1973
There is no mistaking the heads of Horst Antes. Their stark profile and, above all, their schematic stylisation have become the artist’s trademark. They appear in Antes’ paintings as "Kopffüßler" [Head-and-foot figures] or in public spaces as large-scale steel sculptures. Deliberately distancing himself from abstract painting, which predominated in the early 1960s, Antes began exploring new avenues of figurative art. He found inspiration in African and Indian art and took to collecting ritual and everyday objects made by the North American Pueblo Indians. Over time he amassed a sizeable museum-quality collection. The archaic simplicity of the Indian masks and dolls, in particular, inspired him to create his own aesthetic form. This large head, situated outside the Bundesbank’s Essen branch, has a similarly emblematic, motionless, rigid quality. In this unique location, its blend of rusty and stainless steel also recalls the Ruhr region’s great industrial past.