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Hen, 2007

Sculptural project "You Shouldn't Kill the Hen that Lays the Golden Eggs" at the Bank of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart

The 300 hens set up in this sculptural project and the golden eggs arranged to correspond with them act as a symbol of the multitude of creative people, creative processes, or experimental activities that may characterise a region or a country. In most cases, they are faced with scepticism. Even if they may eventually contribute to improving the present situation in a second step, new ideas, inventions, or nonconforming thoughts always tend to generate fears of change. Majority stakes, permit procedures, collateral for loans, or support of the system in general, are hardly ever accomplished, or are subject to certain conditions.

The title of this sculptural project at the Bank of Baden-Württemberg refers to this phenomenon. Namely that hens that could lay golden eggs for the whole system, are sometimes immediately killed. One hears of suggestions for improvement that are smiled at, ideas that cannot be financed because of lacking collateral, new ways of creativity that are not recognised, or perceptions that lead nowhere. Of course, every system must evaluate, screen innovations. However, if the screen is too tightly meshed, the risk of other countries implementing just those innovations is imminent. Thus, an uncertainty for the future existence of any system develops.

Perhaps it might therefore be wise to reinterpret Jean de La Fontaine´s saying, which also inspired the title of this sculptural project: among the hens that would like to lay golden eggs there are some that are able to do just that. And to support those rather than killing them is equivalent to finding a real treasure – for all of society.

Photos: Werner Scheuermann



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