Since its 1981 unveiling, Nuremburg’s controversial bronze fountain, the Ehekarussell (loosely, the Marriage-Merry-Go-Round) has been upsetting people with its sensationally grim representation of the trials of marriage.
The statuary fountain was put in place to cover a subterranean shaft. The artist, Jürgen Weber, went above and beyond in his design, which seems to communicate his less-than-sunny view of married life. The fountain consists of a rough circle of visceral male and female figures that represent various points in a couple’s life. There is the sweet and optimistic dating phase in which the figures seem fairly at peace, but then things take a surreal and dark turn. From there further scenes depict the couple getting old and frail or fat before they both die, becoming gruesome skeletons.
In addition to the questionable message of the piece, many of the figures are nude or beset by animals ranging from mundane (a goat) to monstrous (a giant lizard). Taken together, the fountain is not universally loved.
Despite receiving complaints ever since its birth, the Ehekarussell remains to this day, alternately delighting and horrifying visitors. Much like in many marriages, not everyone is going to agree all the time.
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