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Inges Idee

In connection with the 2013 Emscherkunst exhibition the artists’ group Inges Idee (Inge’s Idea) created the enormous sculpture »Zauberlehrling«, visible from a great distance and installed in the tree and shrub garden at Haus Ripshorst in Oberhausen. Inspired by the protagonist in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s eponymous balled, the artists appear to have brought an electricity pylon to life, which since its installation has been »dancing out of line«. In this humorous manner the artists address the question of the proliferating electrification of society. Although as such an invisible phenomenon, electricity is manifested in the numerous electricity pylons that mark our densely populated landscapes, including the Emscher valley. This is particularly easy to observe from the renaturated waste tips and parks that have been developed since the 1980s on the former industrial sites north and south of Emscher river. The »Gehölzgarten« (tree and shrub garden) Ripshorst was created in 1999 on an area surrounding Haus Ripshorst, which now houses an information centre for the Emscher Landscape Park.
With a height of 35 metres, the steel sculpture’s dimensions and form match those of a traction current pylon. Yet to achieve the structure’s flowing form each element had to be individually drafted and produced.
The dynamic of its apparent movement changes depending on the viewer’s perspective. Its dancing, playful character is especially striking when seen from the West: from this point of view the »Zauberlehrling« joins the company of a number of other, variously shaped electricity pylons, further emphasising its animated character.

For all its playful irony, the allusion to Goethe’s poem »Der Zauberlehrling« (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) is intended as a warning to treat our use of technological achievements with critical caution. As the saying goes, »The spirits that I summoned up, I now can’t rid myself of!«

Between 2017 and 2019 the sculpture had to be renovated for stability reasons. The object’s form and colour were adjusted by the artists to conform to static requirements.

Ripshorster Straße 306
46117 Oberhausen
Public transport

From Oberhausen Hauptbahnhof (main station) with bus 957 (towards Oberhausen Kiebitzstr.) to the stop Oberhausen Haus Ripshorst, continue on foot for about 260 m.


Who dances out of line? The »Der Zauberlehrling« is a proud 35 meters high and consists of a total of 24.4 tons of steel.

Steel with surface coating
Height: 35 m

The artwork is located in the middle of the »Gehölzgarten« Ripshorst in a field next to the Rhine-Herne Canal and Emscher.

The handover of the »Der Zauberlehrling« to the Regionalverband Ruhr on 28 September 2019 with Marijke Lukowicz, Dr. Vera Battis-Reese, Britta Peters, Karola Geiß-Netthöfel, Thomas Schmidt, Prof. Dr. Uli Paetzel, Daniel Schranz.

»Herr, die Not ist groß! Die ich rief, die Geister werd ich nun nicht los.«

Inges Idee

Inges Idee

Die Künstlergruppe Inges Idee wurde 1992 von Hans Hemmert (*1960 in Hollstadt, DE), Axel Lieber (*1960 in Düsseldorf, DE), Thomas Schmidt (*1960 in Nürnberg, DE) und Georg Zey (*1962 in Limburg an der Lahn, DE) gegründet. Seitdem haben die vier Künstler zahlreiche, vor allem großformatige Arbeiten im öffentlichen Raum und Kunst am Bau realisiert. Ihre meist humorvollen Werke sind stets auf den Aufstellungsort bezogen und Ergebnis eines intensiven Ideenaustauschs zwischen den Künstlern, die jeweils aber auch eigenständig künstlerisch tätig sind. Zuletzt realisierte Inges Idee die Werke »Step« und »Snowwoman« in Seoul, Südkorea sowie »Haste Töne« in Monheim.

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