The HumanShapes art project was initiated in 2015 by Gabriela Strohmer (Meran’s City Councilor of Economy and Tourism) and by Barbara Nesticò (head of the Department of Education, Culture and Social Welfare of the Municipality of Meran/Merano). The project was curated by artist Arnold Mario Dall’O and coordinated by Herta Wolf Torggler (director of Kunst Meran-Merano Arte).
The resulting open-air gallery pays homage to personalities who made a vital contribution to the town’s cultural, political and intellectual life. In three stages, ten internationally acclaimed contemporary artists were invited to renew the classical genre of the public monument and to interpret it freely, with each artist asked to use his or her own poetic vocabulary. The ten sculptures thus created have little in common with naturalistic representations and conventional commemorative rhetoric. Instead, they are meant to leave an imprint on the collective memory of Meran.
The project also called on the population of Meran to participate: The local residents could choose–at the museum and the City Library, through social media–their favorites on a list drawn up by the curators, or suggest other names.
In 2015, Stephan Balkenhol, Urs Lüthi and Aron Demetz paid homage to Emma Hellenstainer, Franz Kafka and Antonio Manfredi. In 2016, Tony Cragg, Wil-ma Kammerer and Walter Moroder created artistic representations of Silvius Magnago, Rina Riva and Piero Richard. In 2017, the cycle ended (at least for now, as a continuation of the project is considered) with Human Shapes by Francis Upritchard, Sissi, Michael Fliri and Mimmo Paladino, who were inspired by Gina Klaber Thusek, Bruno Jori, Franz J. Lenhart and Natalia Pravosudovič.