The Lifesaver Fountain in Duisburg, Germany gets full points for creativity and there’s no denying the sculpture that’s the main focal point of the fountain is colourful, but what it’s meant to signify is anybody’s guess. With a name like “Lifesaver”, it seems likely the chubby-looking female form in a swimsuit clinging to the bird-like creature is probably meant to be somebody it has just saved, but it still kind of looks like some form of weird sex act may be going on.
Although the Lifesaver Fountain has become somewhat of a city mascot over the last 20 years, it’s pretty fair to say it’s not loved by all. In 2011, the now defunct travel site Virtual Tourist published a list of the “Top 10 Places with Bad Public Art” and the Lifesaver was included.
The sculpture was created by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle and her Swiss husband Jean Tinguely. The main figure stands five meters high. The metal platform beneath it adds another two meters to its height and the combined weight is six tons. The outer surface of the statue is made of polyester, but the internal frame is stainless steel.
Love it or hate it, the Lifesaver Fountain is certainly a unique idea. It’s one of several fountains that make up the “Fountain Mile” on the King Street in Duisburg and although the other fountains are interesting in their own way the big, blue rotating bird with water shooting out the top of its wings is the one visitors to the city are most likely to remember.
King Street is the main shopping street in Duisburg City Center so if you visit Duisburg, the Lifesaver Fountain is going to be pretty hard to miss.
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