Monolith on the Water
Max Bill’s "Continuity" in a New Location
||It’s by far the heaviest work in the Deutsche Bank Collection. Max Bill’s sculpture Continuity (1986) weighs a full 66 tons. Now, the Sardinian granite monolith has found the perfect location: over the weekend, it was relocated to the newly created garden area alongside the Deutsche Bank Towers in Frankfurt am Main. Here, Continuity is reflected in the water’s surface and can better unfurl its fascinating effects. At the same time, the new location is a reference to the work’s original version, which was destroyed in 1948—Bill’s plaster model Endless Ribbon, which was situated directly on Lake Zurich. In the early eighties, the Deutsche Bank commission offered the artist the chance to remake the lost work in a larger, altered form as a granite sculpture.
Moving the object, which is made from a single block, required the highest degree of logistics. First, workers erected a steel scaffolding around the sculpture, which had to leave its original site in 2008 when the Deutsche Bank Group Head Office was modernized; it was temporarily relocated near the Villa Sander. Sensors were attached to the gray polished surface to measure the tension in the sculpture during the transport. The data fed into a laptop and was continuously evaluated by experts. A crane lifted Continuity and then slowly lowered it in its new location. Numerous people from the media and passersby watched the elaborate action as the monumental sculpture was carefullyplaced on the three cement blocks in the trapezoid-shaped pool.
The sculpture, which is based on two parallel Möbius strips, is Max Bill’s best-known work. The artist, who died in 1994, left an indelible mark on the visual appearance of the 20th century as a painter and sculptor, architect, typographer, product designer, teacher, and publicist. An advocate of Concrete Art, the former Bauhaus student was keen on creating works based on mathematical and geometric foundations—material manifestations of intellectual processes that resisted symbolism. In Continuity, Bill achieved this ideal in a particularly evocative manner. Nonetheless, the sculpture on the plaza before the Towers grew to become a popular trademark for the bank building.
Realizing the work was an elaborate process. A huge block of granite had to be transported from a quarry in Sardinia to Carrara, where Bill and a team of specialized sculptors began their work in 1984. Two years later, the sculpture was completed and embarked on its trip to Germany, traveling by sea through the Strait of Gibraltar to Rotterdam and from there along the Rhine and Main rivers to Frankfurt’s Osthafen. On September 7, 1986, a crane lifted Continuity from a low-loading vehicle onto its base—the monumental conclusion to the first art installment of the Towers. The sculpture’s new location once again marks the completion of the artistic conception of the buildings. Currently, approximately 1,800 works of art by 100 artists from over 40 countries can be seen in the Deutsche Bank Towers. The selection of drawings and photographs invites visitors on a journey of discovery through the global contemporary art scene, which extends to over 900 bank locations worldwide.